The Notorious Case of Pablo Casellas Just Took An Unexpected Turn


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By Mivette Vega

May 28, 2020

Judge sets a bond at $2 million, giving Casellas the opportunity to be out of prison by June.

Pablo Casellas Toro, appeared before a judge on Thursday, for a bail hearing, after Puerto Rico’s appeals court order a new trial for the murder of his wife, Carmen Paredes.

The former insurance broker and the son of a federal judge was convicted in 2014 after a notorious case was held.

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Puerto Rico’s appeals court issued the ruling based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision last month that criminal trials require unanimous verdicts.

The island’s appeals court said going against that decision would mean that “the people of Puerto Rico would enjoy fewer rights than their fellow American citizens residing in any state of the Union.”

Casella’s case applies to the highest U.S. judicial forum decision because it was in an appeal phase and the verdict was not final and firm.

Carmen Paredes was murdered at their home in a wealthy neighborhood in Guaynabo, on July 14, 2012, where they lived with their two daughters. She was shot several times, including in the forehead and chest.

Casellas always claimed to be innocent, that an intruder entered the residence and killed his wife.

Casellas Toro was sentenced to serve 109 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of the crimes of first-degree murder, destruction of evidence, and violation of Article 5.15 of the Puerto Rico Weapons Law.

Puerto Rico’s appeals court determined that “the verdicts issued against Mr. Pablo J. Casellas Toro are null and void on the charges of first-degree murder, destruction of evidence and for the violation of Article 5.15 of the Arms Law”.

“Consequently, the case is returned to the primary forum for the holding of a new trial against Mr. Casellas Toro for the three crimes mentioned,” the tribunal added in a statement.

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The judge, Marta Rosario Santana, was in charge of the hearing. Casella’s was present at the videoconference, from Bayamón prison, wearing a mask.

Prosecutors Janet Parra Mercado and Phoebe Isales asked Judge Rosario Santana to impose on Casellas the same bail imposed in 2012, which was $ 4 million. Then Casella’s father, a renowned federal judge who passed away in 2017, Salvador Casellas, was able to find the money.

Casellas’ attorney, Henry Padilla, alleged his client’s attendance record be considered. The lawyer also claimed Casella’s it no longer has the same economic condition as before.

A bond of $2 million was set for Casellas on Thursday.

A status conference hearing will be held on June 23, with Judge Nerisvel C. Durán Guzmán, while the new trial was scheduled for July 15 at 10:00 a.m. at the Bayamón Court.

If Casellas pays the bail he needs to find a custodian to take [financial] charge of him and will have to remain in lockdown.



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