The Chilean military officer put a pistol to folksinger Victor Jaras head in a game of Russian roulette, twirled the chamber and shot him point blank. Then he ordered a group of conscripts to fire into his corpse.
Now, four decades after Jaras death, a civil lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Jacksonville, claiming that Pedro Pablo Barrientos Nuñez a man now living in Florida is responsible for those events as well as the torture of Jara in the days after the democratically elected Marxist President Salvador Allende was toppled and a military dictatorship installed.
Chile marks the 40th anniversary of the bloody coup Wednesday and it is still struggling to come to terms with the legacy of Gen. Augusto Pinochets dictatorship that stretched from 1973 to 1990.
More than 3,000 people were killed by state agents or disappeared during that era, according to government estimates, and more than 27,000 were tortured. All told, the government now recognizes that more than 40,000 people were killed, imprisoned for political reasons or tortured.
Chiles Supreme Court President Ruben Ballesteros acknowledged Friday that the court was responsible for serious actions and omissions during the military dictatorship. And a few days earlier the Association of Magistrates issued a public apology for not doing enough to prevent abuses during the Pinochet years.
But through the years, Jaras widow, Joan, has kept up a steady drumbeat to find those responsible for the death of her husband not only a singer but also a social icon, university professor, theater director and political activist.
As with many victims of the dictatorship, justice has proven elusive.
For decades it wasnt even clear what went on behind the closed locker-room door at the stadium where Jara, a faculty member at State Technical University, was taken after he and nearly 1,000 students, professors and others were picked up on campus on Sept. 11, 1973.
It was the same day fighter jets flew over La Moneda, the presidential palace, and bombed the parliament and Allende shot himself after recording a farewell radio address to the nation. At the time of the coup Chile had one of the longest-running, democratic traditions in the Americas.
Lawyers working on the case had complained that Chiles military was stonewalling, still denying it had information about which officers were assigned to the stadium.
In late December 2012, eight retired army officers, including Barrientos, were indicted in Chile in connection with the murder and torture of Jara.
Barrientos was a lieutenant and a section commander in the Tejas Verdes regiment in 1973, according to the civil suit.
Barrientos, who has been living in a modest home in Deltona a city of 85,000 residents midway between Daytona Beach and Orlando and Hugo Sánchez, a lieutenant colonel who was second in command at the stadium and lives in Chile, were charged with committing the murder. The six other officers were charged as accomplices.
But the civil suit filed Wednesday in Jacksonville goes a step further, alleging that Barrientos was the triggerman and the officer who instigated the torture of Jara.
We believe Barrientos was the shooter, said Almudena Bernabeu, a lawyer with the San Francisco-based Center for Justice and Accountability, a human-rights organization.