Carmen Garcia: Veronica Garcia’s Mom Was Released From Prison

In 1996, tragedy struck a family in Benejúzar, Spain, after a neighbor raped thirteen-year-old Veronica Garcia. The girl’s mother, María del Carmen García, acted fast and reported the rapist, Antonio Cosme Velasco Soriano, ensuring his future imprisonment. Nevertheless, the incident left Veronica and her mother victims of social ridicule in their small town. Thus, as the perpetrator somehow returned to Benejúzar, crossing paths with Carmen, the woman ended up setting her daughter’s rapist on fire in an act of brazen revenge.

Max’s docuseries, ‘Hell on Earth: The Verónica Case,’ brings details of the same true crime story, helmed by Veronica and her mother’s narratives. Therefore, after familiarizing themselves with the case, viewers are bound to wonder about Carmen Garcia and her current predicament.

Carmen Garcia Fought For Her Daughter’s Safety

Carmen Garcia wasn’t a native resident of Benejúzar, Spain. Even so, her family, husband, and kids had lived in town for years. As such, the Garcias hadn’t anticipated the life-changing events that occurred one morning on October 17, 1996. After the mother sent her daughter, Veronica, to get some bread, the thirteen-year-old girl returned home injured and traumatized. The family’s neighbor, 62-year-old Antonio Soriano, nicknamed “Pincelito,” had cornered the girl at knifepoint and raped her in a forest nearby.

Veronica’s traumatic experience dealt a heavy blow to Carmen, who instantly sought justice for her young girl. Even though the authorities came down on Antonio, the community remained hostile toward the Garcias. Thus, the consistent social ridicule and threats had a grave effect on the family, particularly the survivor’s mother. Eventually, in the same year, Carmen had to seek professional help at the Orihuela Mental Health Unit to deal with her deteriorating mental illness.

Meanwhile, Veronica did her best to move forward with her life despite her peers’ rude remarks and mean comments. The girl also underwent extensive court sessions that came with their own complications as her experiences were officially questioned and scrutinized. Ultimately, in 2000, the court sentenced Antonio to prison time of nine years and an additional 18,000 euros in fine. While the verdict brought some peace to the Garcia family, they were still left to deal with the case’s aftermath.

Notably, Veronica and Carmen received incredible hostility from the town residents, who sided with Antonio. Furthermore, the family had to move to the other side of the town to avoid the rapist’s family, who were their neighbors. Years later, on June 13, 2005, another fallout from the incident unfolded as Carment suddenly found herself face-to-face with her daughter’s attacker. According to reports, Antonio, now 69, received a release from prison on a three-day pass. Consequently, he returned to Benejúzar, where he ran into Carmen at the local bus stop.

Allegedly, Antonio approached Carmen, asking her about Veronica. The instance snapped something in the woman, who ended up following the man to the local bar with a bottle of gasoline and a matchbox. At the bar, Carmen poured the gasoline all over Antonio and set the man on fire. Afterward, she attempted to flee to Alicante, near where the authorities intercepted her. As the news of Carmen’s actions spread, it polarized the nation, with some claiming her actions were immoral while others labeled her heroic. Later, Carmen shared that while she regretted taking a life, the following pain and punishment was worth ensuring Antonio would no longer be able to intervene in Veronica’s life again.

Carmen Garcia is Out of Prison Today

Although Carmen Garcia would have only faced conviction for attempted murder, Antonio Soriano’s death in the week after the former set him on fire confirmed a different outcome. Since Carmen’s actions led to Antonio’s death, she was tried for homicide and received a sentencing of nine and a half years in 2010. Additionally, she also had to pay a fine of 80 thousand euros to Antonio’s widow. Still, the court acknowledged the woman’s mental turmoil and the fact that her actions were triggered by Antonio’s violent actions towards her daughter, Veronica, in 1998. For the same reason, the Supreme Court ultimately brought her sentencing down to five and a half years.

Even so, Carmen’s lawyer, Joaquín Galant, tried to spare her prison time by collecting thousands of signatures in favor of her freedom. Nonetheless, the woman’s appeals for pardon were denied twice. Consequently, she went to prison in early 2013. As per her account in the ‘Hell on Earth: The Verónica Case’ documentary, Carmen was paired with another inmate named Sonia as a precaution against the former’s suicidal tendencies. In the end, Sonia and Carmen became close friends, remaining by each other’s sides in Alicante’s Villena prison.

Meanwhile, Galant and Veronica continued fighting for Carmen’s freedom, with the woman garnering much support online. Reportedly, she even earned nicknames such as The Mother Justice or The Mother of Courage for her act of vengeance. On the third pardon appeal, the court granted the inmate a daytime prison release in the summer of 2018. As per the new rules of her sentence, Carmen was free to go home during the day and had to spend her nights at Alicante’s Fontcalent institution.

From there, after Carmen reunited with her family, she went on to share her story with the world through the Max docuseries, which recounts the tragic events that befell the Garcia family. However, outside of the same, neither Carmen nor the other members of the Garcia family have maintained a presence in the public. Therefore, outside of the details divulged in the docuseries— such as Veronica’s pregnancy with a boy and her continued presence in Carmen’s life— no other information is available about her.

Read More: Veronica García: The Survivor is Now a Hairdresser