Guatemalan Supreme Court Justice Cesar Barrientos Pellecer died Sunday in a hospital after being shot twice in the head, police said.
Although a member of the National Civil Police, or PNC, told Efe that the magistrate committed suicide, Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said later that there is still no conclusive information regarding how his death came about.
“It is presumed to be suicide, but it’s a question that still has not been resolved. We still don’t have the analyses by the National Institute of Forensic Sciences (Inacif) and the experts and police officers who are at the crime scene,” Lopez Bonilla told the daily La Hora.
The body of the judge is being subjected to atomic absorption tests by forensic experts to try and establish the precise cause of death.
According to preliminary reports, the justice was shot in the city of Mazatenango while he was with his bodyguards.
Barrientos’s body had two bullet wounds in the head, according to the PNC report.
The version of the justice’s security officers is that he asked them for a moment of privacy to make a call inside his vehicle and several minutes later they heard two shots.
The two bodyguards have cooperated with the authorities and are not under arrest, police confirmed to Efe.
Barrientos, 61, held various public posts within Guatemala’s judicial branch and the Public Ministry during his 35-year professional career as an attorney, according to authorities.
He began serving on the high court in 2009 and his term there would have ended in October of this year.
The son of the magistrate, Cesar Barrientos Aguirre, also an attorney, was arrested on July 17, 2013, in Mazatenango and is scheduled to be brought to trial for human trafficking.