SPAIN: Man Who Murdered His Cousin And Raped Her Corpse Now Seeking Transfer To Women’s Prison Under New “Trans Law”

Content Notice: Graphic Descriptions Of Violence Against Women. Reader Discretion is Appreciated.

A sadistic man who bludgeoned his cousin to death before sexually desecrating her corpse has requested transfer to a women’s prison under Spain’s new “trans law.” Lorena Robaina, formerly known as Jonathan de Jesús, is currently serving 38 years in prison for the sick crime.

Robaina, 26, was first arrested in June of 2018, four days after the mutilated corpse of his cousin, Vanessa Santana, was found in her mother’s Betancuria-area home. Robaina had reportedly waited until his aunt had left for work before entering the residence and finding Santana in her room. Both Robaina and Santana were 21 years of age at the time.

Using extreme violence intended to target vital areas, Robaina bludgeoned Santana almost three dozen times with a hammer, focusing a great deal of the blows on her skull. Robaina continued to beat Santana even after she fell to the ground, and went on to use a belt to strangle her.

After the young woman was deceased, Robaina ejaculated on and sexually defiled her corpse.

During the trial, Santana’s mother said she had returned home from work and called for her daughter, but when the young woman didn’t respond, she went upstairs to find Santana’s body in a “pool of blood” in the hallway. Santana’s remains had been wrapped in a blanket, and the belt Robaina had used to strangle her was still around her neck.

The young woman’s face had been destroyed to the point she was almost “unrecognizable.”

Vanessa Santana.

Robaina was immediately considered a suspect in the crime as neighbors reported he hadn’t seemed emotionally impacted by the death of his cousin. Santana’s mother also noted that he had a history of sexually deranged behavior towards his cousin, including having attacked her in the past and stolen her clothes.

Santana’s mother claimed that her daughter had never reported Robaina to police out of sympathy for him.

“They grew up together, he was always at my house. I took care of him a lot … [but] there was a moment when he attacked her and [Vanessa] didn’t want to report him because he was her cousin and she loved him,” Santana’s mother claimed during the proceedings.

Santana’s mother had raised Robaina as her own after his biological mother had died during childbirth, and he and Santana were very close. The victim had reportedly invited Robaina out for a walk and lunch just days before he would murder her.

Robaina’s relatives revealed that he was emotionally and sexually disturbed, and had extreme trouble with women.

“He is a very short person with a lot of complexes. That’s why he has always behaved like that towards women, harassing them. Just seeing how he looked at them was quite repulsive,” one of Santana’s cousins said about Robaina.

Disturbingly, Robaina declared a transgender identity almost immediately after the trial commenced and attempted to use his gender identity as a mitigating factor in an effort to have certain charges dropped. In hopes of peeling 15 years off of the potential sentence, Robaina’s lawyers began to argue that there was no sexual motivation to the crime because Robaina was a woman who was sexually attracted to men.

The defense asserted that Robaina had acted in an “outburst” caused by a mental health break, and that the murder had not been premeditated or sexual.

Santana’s cousin, Nayara, refuted Robaina’s claims to the press, slamming him as a liar.

“Of course no one believes that it was an outburst. [Robaina] sneaked into my cousin’s house that night with some keys that he had previously stolen from my aunt. He used gloves so as not to leave a trace. He had come with ropes, two knives and a hammer. When he finished, he turned the bloody mattress over to hide the stains. He put the bloody clothes in a bag and threw them in an uninhabited house. That’s not a run-in,” she said.

While in custody during his trial, Robaina had reportedly been permitted to wear feminine clothes in the prison, and was allowed to shower separately from the men.

Robaina’s attempts to reduce his sentence using his gender identity were ultimately unsuccessful, and he was handed a 38-year prison term, just two years less than what the prosecution had been asking for both the murder charge and the sexual aggravation.

Now, Robaina is seeking a transfer to a women’s prison on the heels of Spain passing its new “trans law,” one which massively broadened the scope of protections and privileges for those who claim a transgender identity.

The controversial law, passed on February 16, granted anyone over the age of 16 the right to change the gender reflected on their official documents without any social or medical proof of transitioning. While women’s rights advocates expressed concern with the result the law would have on males being given access to women’s spaces, including domestic violence shelters and prisons, the law went into effect on May 2.

Just 12 days after the law was passed, the director of the prison Robaina is being held at signed an internal order requiring staff use Robaina’s new “feminine” name when addressing him. It was also decreed that Robaina be provided a private cell and private searches.

As per Spain’s Antena3, Robaina is also requesting a transfer to the female estate, something Santana’s family had expressed concerns about years ago.

In 2021, after Robaina had declared his transgender identity, Santana’s family spoke to press and warned that “his sex change could cause him to end up in a women’s prison,” adding: “Imagine what that would be for the prisoners, who are real women. Forcing them to live with a confessed murderer of women.”

According to Okdiario, the Department of the Interior has stated Robaina will be allowed to move to a women’s prison after he develops “a more feminine phenotype.”

Spain has become internationally ridiculed for its recent move towards implanting lenient laws surrounding gender identity. Feminist advocates have noted that little consideration has been made for the way in which the law will impact women and girls.

Last year, Reduxx reported that a man in Catalonia managed to avoid sex-specific domestic violence charges after changing his gender identity. The man and his female partner had been together for 11 years, but their relationship began to deteriorate after he expressed a desire to wear lingerie in the bedroom and take estrogen.

Having no desire to participate in the man’s obvious fetish, the woman moved into another room in the residence, only to be terrorized by her ex-partner who would go on to sexually and physically abuse her. After police became involved, the woman learned he had already changed his legal gender marker, making it impossible for him to be charged with the sex-specific crime of gender-based violence.

In Spain, gender-based violence charges provide the female victim specific protections and resolutions which can impact divorce or separation proceedings, custody, and other important factors. 

As her abuser was legally recognized as female, the victim was not afforded any specific protections, including a protection order, and was forced to choose between homelessness and returning to the residence with her abuser.

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Anna Slatz

Anna is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Reduxx, with a journalistic focus on covering crime, child predators, and women's rights. She lives in Canada, enjoys Opera, and kvetches in her spare time.

Anna Slatz
Anna Slatz
Anna is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Reduxx, with a journalistic focus on covering crime, child predators, and women's rights. She lives in Canada, enjoys Opera, and kvetches in her spare time.