"This is not going to end like this. I swear we're going to charge this. But with blood and gunpowder. That loud threat from Luciana materialized in one of the most atrocious revenges that Spanish criminology has produced.
A series of disputes between members of two families from the same town, the Pataspelás and the Amadeos, ended the lives of nine people in August 1990. Disputes, threats, fights, stabbings and all kinds of brawls made the quiet town from Puerto Hurraco, in Badajoz, one of the blackest towns in our geography. Since that bloody massacre, 33 years have passed.
It all started twenty years before the massacre. One would have to go back to 1967, when Amadeo Cabanillas, from the Amadeos, crossed the limits of his land with his plow, invading those of the Izquierdo family, the Pataspelás. The anger was monumental and they came to blows. From then on, the hostility did not stop, not even when Amadeo and Luciana Izquierdo fell in love and had a relationship. In fact, the couple was about to get married, but Amadeo ended up rejecting it.
Some testimonies point out that the break took its toll on Luciana, which especially angered her older brother, Jerónimo Izquierdo. Taking advantage of a new discussion because of the limits of their respective lands, he stabbed Cabanillas, whom he killed. Jerónimo was sentenced to 14 years in prison and, once the sentence was over, he moved to Barcelona.
Another of the strange events that surrounded the Izquierdo family was the death of the mother, Isabel. In 1984 there was a fire in the house and she was unable to escape the flames. She was burned alive before the stunned gaze of her six children, including Antonio and Emilio. The Izquierdo family pointed to the Amadeos as the only ones responsible, but the case was never clarified. The presumed motive for the crime was the romance that this woman had had in her youth with the Cabanillas' grandfather.
The gossips claimed that no one wanted to help her: "They saved the television, the refrigerator and the furniture from the flames while the mother toasted herself in one of the rooms inside."
The rumor that ran through the streets was that the author of the fire was the brother of the deceased Amadeo, Antonio Cabanillas, who wanted revenge for what happened to his brother. However, in the absence of evidence, the police were unable to indict him.
In 1986 Jerónimo Izquierdo returned to Puerto Hurraco to stab to death the alleged murderer of his mother, Antonio Cabanillas. He did not accomplish his mission: he seriously injured him, although he survived. On his part, Jerónimo was taken to the Mérida psychiatric hospital, where he died nine days later. After this episode, the Izquierdo brothers had to leave the town, but they swore to return to do justice.
Four years passed until the Izquierdo family decided to return to Puerto Hurraco, a time in which Ángela and Luciana encouraged their brothers Emilio and Antonio to perpetrate a new punishment, this time in the form of revenge.
While Ángela and Luciana left by train for Madrid, Emilio and Antonio started the worst massacre in the history of Spain. It was ten at night on August 26, 1990 when the Izquierdo brothers, dressed for hunting and with two shotguns and more than 300 cartridges, arrived in the center of town in their Land Rover and hid in an alley so as not to be seen.
They waited on the lookout to shoot anyone who belonged to the Amadeos clan. Although their breathing was ragged, they waited patiently. Suddenly, Antonio and Encarnación Cabanillas, two girls aged 14 and 12 respectively, went out to play in the street. They looked happy as they danced and sang in the middle of the road.
It is at that moment when the two brothers did not hesitate to take their shotguns and fire them up to eighteen times. The bullets tore into the thorax of the girls due to the type of cartridge used.
It was about some posts, lined with lead and iron, which are used to pierce the hard skin of wild boars. "Like when we went out to hunt doves," the murderers explained during the statement taking, once they were arrested.
Before the deafening roars, the third sister came out into the street, who was also savagely riddled with bullets. Then Manuel Cabanillas, 57, appeared on the scene, recriminating them: “You are crazy, you are going to kill them! Can't you see that they are girls? Five shots ended his life. His son was also hit in the back.
The screams and laments flooded the center of a town whose inhabitants did not believe what was happening. Confusion and fear reigned, while Antonio and Emilio continued loading cartridges into their shotguns. There was no truce for anyone. The cannon shots were indiscriminate, they shot at every living thing they came across.
One of the neighbors, Araceli Murillo Romero, who was taking the fresh air at the door of her house, was killed with two shots. Another of the neighbours, José Penco Rosales, managed to take two of the wounded to a neighboring town, Castuera, in his car, but when he returned he was shot dead behind the wheel. The assassins continued with the slaughter: revenge had blinded their reason.
As if it were a Western movie, they shot at the roofs, the doors, the windows and the parked vehicles. Three residents died while trying to escape, although several of them were able to reach the Civil Guard headquarters, which sent a patrol to the scene of the crimes.
For an hour, Antonio and Emilio Izquierdo walked through Puerto Hurraco leaving a trail of dead behind. The last name no longer mattered. The scene looked more like a carnage due to the amount of blood spilled by the victims. Once the slaughter was finished, Emilio and Antonio fled to the mountains. After nine hours of searching and a police device of two hundred people, they were captured.
That same morning the press echoed the terrible news and the commotion seized Puerto Hurraco and public opinion. The relatives of the victims joined in a single cry: "Let them tear off their skin, kill their children so they can see how it hurts, leave them to us!"
Among the pearls that the assassins left during the police interrogation, it is worth highlighting the one released by Emilio Izquierdo, the supposed leader of the Pataspelás: “We have now shot in August because I am very cold [...] and in winter my fingers stiffen and I don't aim." And he also made it clear that "if you had not stopped us, we would have shot them again during the burial of the dead."
Once in prison, the psychiatrist José Gómez Romero met with the brothers, sometimes as a couple and other times separately, to assess their mental state and make a report on it. During one of those talks, the doctor was struck by how Emilio explained what they had done before and during the massacre:
“Before leaving, we took a three-milligram lexatin so that our pulse would not tremble when we pulled the trigger. [...] I was going to help Antonio Cabanillas or his daughters, so they know what it hurts to lose a loved one and leave them a memory that they will never forget. [...] I shoot at everything I see, aiming for the heart and the head”.
With Emilio and Antonio imprisoned, the town also pointed to the two sisters, Ángela and Lucía, as the main inducers of the massacre. They came to compare them with the "devil himself." Even the authorities warned of his disappearance at that time. No one had seen them in the house shared by the four brothers in the Monterrubio district of Badajoz.
It seems to be, as they later clarified, that they had the intention of speaking with Felipe González, then Prime Minister, to tell him about their "misfortunes". In fact, they came to visit Moncloa, although they were unable to receive them. As a result of that lightning trip, the police were able to identify them, find their whereabouts and bring them back to Badajoz.
On that train ride and before the Antena 3 microphones, the Izquierdo sisters tried to justify their strange disappearance. They just wanted to go to the eye doctor in Puertollano. But, on Sunday? And what made you change your mind and head to Madrid?
The image of both women, dressed in rigorous mourning, presaged that they already knew in advance what their brothers had done. However, they denied over and over again that they were the instigators of the massacre. They only proclaimed their deep religious fervor, that the Cabanillas were responsible for their misfortune and that they needed to see and speak with Antonio and Emilio to find out the truth of what had happened.
When they arrived at the Badajoz station the next day, several police officers escorted Ángela and Luciana to the courts in Castuera. At the doors of the building, a crowd of journalists, relatives of the victims and onlookers were waiting for them.
That morning Judge Casiano Rojas began the interrogation to discover their participation in the terrible crimes: he was convinced that they knew the entire plan perfectly.
Despite their contradictory testimonies, there was no evidence that the magistrate could cling to to take them to prison. Even so, Casiano Rojas ordered that they be confined in the Mérida psychiatric hospital.
The experts who examined them concluded that they were facing two bodies with one mind. They also pointed out that the death of the mother of the four brothers caused in them "a paranoid disorder with an overvaluation of a single idea: revenge." Thus concluded the psychiatric report.
Meanwhile, at the gate of the courts, a large crowd awaited the departure of the Izquierdo sisters. The cries of pain were confused with those who cried out for justice. One of them was Antonio Cabanillas, father of the girls murdered by the Pataspelás.
Several agents of the meritorious had to reduce him because he was carrying a large knife: he intended to threaten the alleged inducers and not attack them, "at least for the moment," he told the Civil Guard.
In January 1994, the trial against the brothers Antonio and Emilio Izquierdo began. His sisters, Ángela and Lucía, had been exonerated two years earlier and admitted to a psychiatric center. During the process, the murderers' statements reopened the wounds of the victims' relatives. That “we have already taken revenge. Now let the people suffer”, inflamed the spirits of those present even more.
Finally, the Izquierdo brothers were sentenced to 684 years in prison. Instead, his sisters remained admitted to the Mérida psychiatric institution until their death in 2005. They had been diagnosed with a paranoid process with shared delusional disorder.
The sentence fell like a jug of cold water among the residents of Puerto Hurraco. The majority had no doubts in pointing to Ángela and Lucía as the only inducers of the massacre. However, Antonio and Emilio ended up bearing the weight of all the blame.
Emilio died in December 2006 in the Badajoz prison and Antonio attended the funeral, who, kneeling in front of his grave, said: "Brother, you leave with the satisfaction that your mother has been avenged." For his part, Antonio ended his life by hanging himself in prison. It was the early morning of April 26, 2010.