Jesús Ociel Baena, prominent Mexican magistrate, found dead in home

November 15, 2023

The world of Mexican politics was rocked this week after it was announced that a prominent magistrate, also a liberal activist, was found dead in his home.

According to the BBC, Jesús Ociel Baena "was found dead at home next to their partner, Dorian Daniel Nieves, in the central city of Aguascalientes on Monday."

Some reports indicated that a razor blade was found at the scene, but there was no sign of a third individual who might have been there, leading some to believe his partner, Nieves, murdered him and then took his own life.

The BBC noted:

Aguascalientes chief prosecutor Jesús Figueroa said Baena had been found with 20 wounds on their body, including one on their neck that was probably the cause of death.

While early indications point to Nieves as the murder suspect and the razor blade as the weapon that was used, authorities cautioned that the investigation was still in its early stages, and to not draw conclusions and this point.

"There are no signs or indications to be able to determine that a third person other than the dead was at the site of the crime," State prosecutor Jesús Figueroa Ortega said, according to the Associated Press.

It should be noted that the AP named his partner as Dorian Herrera, a different last name than other reports, including from the BBC.

The late magistrate's family isn't buying the initial story, as his father said recently it "would be a shame to let this justice system make a judgment that is not correct and that the majority do not believe it."

Baena, 38, entered politics in 2022, joining the Aguascalientes state electoral court.

Protests erupted in the wake of his death, with many demanding that authorities look deeper into the cause of his death. Many are not convinced that his partner committed the gruesome crime, rather, they say it could have been a result of his activism.

"We want [the authorities] to continue to investigate this case, and not just say it was a 'crime of passion,'" said Humberto Dena, 24.

Federal Security Secretary Rosa Icela Rodríguez added that it still wasn't clear whether Baena's death was "a homicide or an accident," again sparking backlash from activists across the country, as Baena was a prominent figure.

"They were a person who received many hate messages, and even threats of violence and death, and you can’t ignore that in these investigations," said Alejandro Brito, a activist rights group director.

As of this writing, no other suspects have been named.

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