Eight people who have cared for Argentine football superstar Diego Maradona will be tried for murder, according to a sentence handed down Wednesday following an investigation into his death from cardiac arrest.
In the 236-page document viewed by Reuters, the judge in charge questioned “the conduct – active or by omission – of each of the defendants who determined and contributed to the achievement of the harmful result”.
The ruling states that eight people including doctors, nurses and a psychologist who were caring for Maradona at the time of his death in 2020 are accused of “simple murder”, a serious charge that means taking his own life with intent. A medical commission charged with investigating Maradona’s death concluded in 2021 that his medical team acted in “inappropriate, deficient and reckless ways”.
Maradona was considered one of the greatest soccer players in history, although the tiny player nicknamed “Pelusa” for his long mane of hair and “D10S” as a game of the Spanish word for “God” using the number on his shirt, fought against drugs and alcohol abuse for years.
Mario Baudry, a lawyer for one of Maradona’s sons, told Reuters that the World Cup winner was “in a situation of helplessness” at the time of his death. Maradona died on November 25, 2020, at the age of 60.
“As soon as I saw the lawsuit, I said it was murder,” he said. “I fought for a long time and here we are, with this stage completed”.
Argentine prosecutors began investigations shortly after Maradona’s death in a house near Buenos Aires, including the order to search his personal doctor’s property and an investigation into others involved in his care. The defendants cited in the sentence were: the neurosurgeon and personal doctor of Maradona, Leopoldo Luque; his psychiatrist, Agustina Cosachov; his psychologist, Carlos Diaz; two nurses, Gisella Madrid and Ricardo Almiron; their leader, Mariano Perroni; and two doctors, Pedro Di Spagna and Nancy Forlini.
The defendants denied responsibility for Maradona’s death. The judge said that some of their lawyers had asked for the case to be closed.
Vadim Mischanchuk, a lawyer for Cosachov, said he will appeal the decision, adding that the psychiatrist’s area of care has no relation to the cause of death. “A culprit is sought at all costs and objectivity is lost,” said the lawyer.
Reuters could not immediately contact the defendants or other lawyers for comment.
The crime of “simple homicide” in Argentina usually leads to a prison sentence of eight to 25 years, according to the country’s penal code. There is no set date for the trial yet.