Netflix’s murder mystery film ‘Crime Diaries: The Celebrity Stylist’ explores Jhonier Leal’s possible involvement in the double murder of his brother and famed Colombian stylist Mauricio Leal and their mother Marleny Hernández. Ever since the authorities concluded that Mauricio didn’t kill himself after murdering his mother, Jhonier became the prime suspect in the case. At one point, he even pleaded guilty to killing his brother and mother, only to eventually retract his confession. Despite building a strong case against Jhonier, the authorities haven’t yet succeeded in proving their theory true!
Did Yhonier Kill Mauricio Leal?
When Mauricio Leal and Marleny Hernández died, Jhonier Leal appeared before the Colombian public as a grieving brother and son. In television interviews, he shared how he was destroyed by the tragedy that befell his family and how he would run his brother’s salons to honor the latter’s memory. The beloved brother then became the prime suspect in the double murder case when the former withdrew a suspicious amount of money from family accounts he started to control after the deaths of his brother and mother. At first, when he was brought in front of a judge, Jhonier said that he was “incapable of laying a hand on my mother or my brother.”
One of the significant pieces of evidence against Jhonier is a towel the authorities found after conducting a search in Mauricio’s house. The prosecution theorized that Jhonier made the stains on the towel while looking for a second knife to kill his brother upon murdering Marleny. Furthermore, the autopsy of Mauricio’s body revealed that he had severe wounds in his body, which were inflicted by a left-hander. Since the stylist is a right-hander while Jhonier is a left-hander, the latter became the prime suspect in the case. The investigators also discovered account numbers and property documents of Mauricio’s assets at the house where Jhonier lived with his brother, which further affected his credibility.
A short while after his arrest, Jhonier pleaded guilty to killing Mauricio and Marleny. He “freely and voluntarily” accepted the murder charges through a deal he made with the prosecutors. The murder suspect considered his confession as an “expression of repentance” and he sought the forgiveness of his family members and the public while promising that he wouldn’t be involved in something of such magnitude again. Despite admitting guilt at first, Jhonier eventually retracted his confession by claiming that he did the same after feeling “psychologically pressured” to do so. He added that his lawyer convinced him to admit guilt, especially since he doesn’t have the money to pay for his defense.
After withdrawing his confession, Jhonier has maintained that he is innocent, and he continues to do so. The court has not yet provided the verdict in the case since the double murder trial hasn’t progressed over the years. The trial was postponed four times, much to the disappointment of the prosecution, who has been requesting the court to sentence Jhonier to maximum punishment. The prosecution is convinced that Jhonier killed Mauricio and Marleny, apparently to inherit the famed stylist’s wealth and out of jealousy.
In 2019, Jhonier opened his own hair salon to become an independent businessman, only to lose the same a year later due to the difficulties that arose because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also had to live with Maurice and Marleny as he was dealing with divorce proceedings during the same period. Jhonier’s failure to replicate his brother’s success is considered the seed of his alleged jealousy.
Where is Jhonier Leal Today?
Jhonier Leal is currently imprisoned in La Picota, a prison located in the Colombian capital city Bogotá. He is awaiting the conclusion of his trial and the sentence that will determine his fate. Although he was supposed to appear in front of the court on August 31, 2023, the trial session didn’t materialize since his lawyer Ana Julieth Vásquez was having health issues. When the prosecution demanded an evaluation of the defense lawyer’s health condition, believing that the latter had been intentionally trying to delay the trial, Vásquez decided to stop representing Jhonier. The defense, however, clarified that the postponements would not result in the expiration of terms after the prosecution criticized the same as a “mockery of the administration of justice.”
Jhonier currently does not have a lawyer representing him. In front of the judge, he maintains that he will prove his innocence by the “hand of God.” Although Jhonier is not guilty yet in the eyes of the law, his brother Carlos Andrés believes that the former is the killer. Carlos said in an interview that Jhonier’s arrest confirmed his suspicions and the latter is dead for him. He also expressed his doubt whether Jhonier resented their brother Mauricio for being a successful stylist, giving birth to jealousy. Meanwhile, the government seized Mauricio’s assets, which were supposed to be inherited by Jhonier.