‘Shotgun monster’ gets maximum 25-year jail sentence

Manuel Baltazar – the man known as ‘Palito’ who evaded a police-hunt for more than a month last year – has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for a “monstrous” crime that saw him shoot four members of his family, killing two outright.

Coincidentally, on the same day, another killer was also sentenced to 25 years for an equally gruesome crime.

“The maximum prison sentence is the only option we could choose due to the monstrosity of Manuel Baltazar’s crime,” the panel of judges of Viseu Court said yesterday (July 15), reports Jornal de Notícias.

Lead judge Cândida Martinho described ‘Palito’ as a man with a “violent, egocentric and dominating personality” who “doesn’t know how to take a ‘no’ for an answer”.

Manuel Baltazar’s rampage began in April 2014, when his refusal to accept a divorce led him to shoot his ex-wife and his daughter, as well as his former mother-in-law and her sister, who both died where they fell.

Baltazar told the court that he wanted to kill the two older women, but only meant to injure his ex-wife.

He claims he never meant to shoot his daughter and described her injuries as an “accident”.

After the massacre, Baltazar spent weeks on a run, living rough in the hills around his hometown of Trevões. He was finally caught returning to his own home to “gather supplie”s.

Before the shooting, Baltazar had been pursuing his former wife for years and had even been fitted with an electronic bracelet due to a restraining order.

As well as his 25-year prison sentence, ‘Palito’ will also have to pay his victims’ families around €362,000 in compensation.

On the same day, a court in Vila Real also sentenced another man to 25 years for killing his wife with three axe blows to the head.

The judges considered it a “monstrous” and “rarely seen crime” brought on by jealousy.

The attack took place after 44-year-old Rui Borges found a letter that his wife had supposedly written to another man.

Following “a heated exchange of words”, Borges used an axe to strike his wife “three times in the head”.

Borges was also found guilty of the domestic abuse of his wife and her two children, and ordered to pay the children €155,000 in compensation.