Argentine governor killed by own gun; wife queried

AP News
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Posted: Jan 02, 2012 11:39 AM
Argentine governor killed by own gun; wife queried

The ruling party governor of Argentina's Rio Negro province, Carlos Soria, was quickly buried in a private ceremony after authorities determined that he died of a single bullet wound to his head, fired from his own handgun in the bedroom of his home after an argument with his wife.

"We know that there was a family argument," prosecutor Miguel Angel Fernandez Jahde told reporters on Monday.

The governor's wife, Susana Freydoz, remains sedated in a relative's home, and has yet to make a formal declaration about what happened in their bedroom early on New Year's Day, said the judge overseeing the case, Juan Pablo Chirinos. "There were only two people in the room, so the only suspect is her," the judge said.

Police tested Freydoz for evidence that she fired the gun, but she was not detained. She also underwent a medical examination. Chirinos said he has yet to see the results.

Soria was buried Sunday night as about 1,500 people marched in his honor in the provincial town of General Roca, where he had served as mayor for eight years before swearing in as governor on Dec. 10.

An official description of Soria's death released the courts late Sunday left many questions unanswered.

"Dr. Carlos Soria was the victim of a single gunshot, to the head, from which he died a few minutes later," duty Judge Emilio Stadler wrote. "At this point, there is no evidence, nor even a suggestion, indicating that someone else may have been involved."

Soria led the province's Peronist Justicialist Party and won election by a wide margin in October, displacing the Radical Party that had long controlled the province. Soria will be succeeded by his vice-governor, Alberto Weretilneck, who was described Monday in local media as closer to President Cristina Fernandez and her ruling Front for Victory.

Soria came up through the more conservative wing of the Peronist Party, allying himself with former presidents Carlos Menem and Eduardo Duhalde. He was photographed sharing a friendly meal with Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke, who lived openly in the Rio Negro city of Bariloche for 50 years before being extradited and tried in Italy. While serving as Duhalde's intelligence service chief, he was accused by Fernandez of spying on her husband Nestor Kirchner.

Soria's son Martin, who replaced him as mayor of General Roca, made no immediate statement about his father's death. The couple also had three other children: German, Carlos and Emilia. Emilia and her boyfriend also spent the night in the Soria family home, and also were examined for gunshot residue. Emilia Soria has the right to decline to testify under Argentine law, given her close relationship with both parents, the judge said.

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Michael Warren can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/mwarrenap