By Humphrey Carter

THE 53-year-old prime suspect in the investigation in to the brutal murder of his disabled wife in Palma last Thursday was yesterday ordered to be held on remand in Palma prison while the judge handling the case decides whether Jose Juan Puchal Perez remains in jail or be transfered to the psychiatric hospital.

In fact, the mental condition of the prime suspect, who has apparently received psychological treatment in the past, will determine the sentence if he is found guilty of having strangled and then mutilated his 43-year-old wife, Joana Maroa Rebassa, at the flat they shared in the Camp Redo neighbourhood of Palma.

The prime suspect was finally arrested on Friday night after a 24-hour island wide man hunt involving the National and Local Police forces near his small rural holding in Sant Llorenç and he appeared before a Manacor judge yesterday morning after having spent the weekend in the custody of the national Police. According to a statement released by the National Police, the suspect allegedly killed his wife because she sexually rejected him. The post mortem revealed that the victim died at midday on Thursday but the body was not found until 9pm. The National Police also revealed yesterday that the dead woman was found in the bedroom with a kitchen knife embedded in the body.

When arrested, Jose Juan Puchal Perez denied killing his wife.
Over the weekend, the National Police murder squad carried out a reconstruction of the crime and the suspect will under go a psychiatric examination this week to determine if he was aware of his acts. Yesterday, a minute's silence was held in Manacor in memory of Rebassa and a protest against domestic violence was held in Palma last night.

Rebassa is the first fatal victim of domestic violence of this year in the Balearics.


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