Authorities in Mexico have a working theory on the death of Jesús Ociel Baena, an openly non-binary magistrate found dead along with his partner in their Aguascalientes home. However, LGBTQ activists are demanding a full investigation into what they allege was a hate crime murder.
The Crime Scene
In the early morning hours of November 13th, 2023, the bodies of magistrate Jesús Ociel Baena and his partner Dorian Daniel Nieves were discovered inside their home in the Punta del Cielo residential area of Aguascalientes.
According to Jesús Figueroa Ortega, the Attorney General of Aguascalientes, surveillance footage showed that only Baena and Nieves entered the house that night. There was no record of a third person entering.
Inside the home, authorities found blood traces leading from a bedroom down the stairs to the first floor, where the bodies were discovered. They also found a razor they believed to be the murder weapon.
An autopsy revealed that Baena sustained around 20 wounds caused by a sharp object. One was to his jugular vein and likely caused him to bleed to death. Nieves was found with a single deep cut to his neck.
Prosecutor’s Theory Points to Murder-Suicide
Based on the evidence, prosecutor Figueroa Ortega has put forth a hypothesis that Dorian Nieves murdered his partner Jesús Ociel Baena before taking his own life.
Figueroa Ortega speculates that a fight broke out between the couple in an upstairs bedroom, evidenced by strewn clothing and an unmade bed. He believes Nieves then slashed Baena’s throat with a razor, causing him to bleed out on the first floor.
Nieves is then suspected to have gone back upstairs, as matching bloody bare footprints were found leading to and from the bedroom. Finally, the prosecutor alleges Nieves returned downstairs and inflicted the fatal wound on himself with another razor.
Authorities indicate no other parties seem to be involved, according to home surveillance systems. However, the investigation remains ongoing.
Activists Call for Hate Crime Probe
LGBTQ activists have rejected the murder-suicide theory, insisting Baena was the victim of a hate crime. They are demanding federal authorities take over the investigation from a gender rights perspective.
Baena made history as Mexico’s first openly non-binary magistrate. Activists believe he was targeted because of his gender identity and public stance as an LGBTQ advocate.
Protests have erupted demanding justice for Baena in Mexico City, Veracruz, and other parts of the country. Protesters call on Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR) to intervene in the probe.
“We demand the Attorney General’s Office to take over the case to deliver swift justice,” said federal deputy Maria Clemente Garcia. “Ociel Baena was not killed. Ociel Baena was murdered, the result of a hate crime.”
The Mexican Senate has also unanimously called on the FGR to assume the investigation from Aguascalientes prosecutors.
What’s Next in the Investigation
As pressure mounts from activists and politicians, the FGR will need to decide whether to take over the murder probe from local authorities.
If federal prosecutors do get involved, they will likely re-examine all evidence through the lens of a potential hate crime. This includes re-evaluating the presumed murder-suicide scenario.
The FGR has the authority to bring in outside experts, including those specialized in LGBTQ rights and gender-based violence. Their analysis could provide new insights missed by Aguascalientes law enforcement.
Further forensic examination of the crime scene, autopsy results, and recovered physical evidence will also help determine exactly what transpired. Investigators will hopefully uncover more details that shed light on the sequence of events and any additional parties who may have been involved.
Prosecutors still need to conclusively establish a motive and the specific circumstances surrounding both Baena’s and Nieves’ deaths. It remains to be proven whether intense personal rage, a pathological violent tendency, or external hatred based on Baena’s identity led to the gruesome slayings.
LGBTQ advocates vow to keep pressure on authorities until there is a complete, transparent investigation. They hope Mexico’s institutions will ultimately deliver justice for Jesús Ociel Baena and the vulnerable communities he represented.