It has been a mystery for more than 30 years. Who pulled the trigger of the sharpshooter's rifle which murdered Oscar Romero? Citing sources close to the plot, a Salvadoran newspaper has now identified the killer. From the Super Martyrio blog:
If a martyr is killed, does the killer’s actual identity matter for the purpose of raising the martyr to the honor of the altars? It matters in the case of Óscar Romero, according to Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chávez, a Salvadoran cleric familiar with Archbishop Romero’s beatification process. “When we were starting the process,” Bishop Rosa says, the Vatican “asked us three questions: who killed him, why, and the context in which he served as Archbishop of San Salvador.” He adds, “Who killed him was the only question we were unable to answer,” at the time. (G. Fajardo and F. Valencia, Msgr. Rosa Chávez asks Romero shooter to contribute to the truth, CO LATINO, September 17, 2011—in Spanish.)
New information published in El Salvador in the last days would answer that question, purporting to establish that National Guard Deputy Sargeant Marino Samayoa Acosta was the shadowy figure who pulled the trigger on that fateful evening of March 24, 1980, having been selected for the job by a man named Mario Molina, who was the son of Arturo Armando Molina, a Salvadoran army colonel who assumed the presidency under widespread allegations of fraud. The new information appears to complete the factual findings in Saravia v. Doe, a 2004 U.S. federal case in which Capt. Álvaro Saravia was found liable, in absentia, for his “role in coordinating and planning the assassination of Archbishop Romero,” and in a U.N. Truth Commission Report which found that, “Former Major Roberto D’Aubuisson gave the order to assassinate the Archbishop and gave precise instructions to members of his security service (including Saravia), acting as a ‘death squad’, to organize and supervise the assassination.”The Diario CoLatino article, drawing on several sources, provides a narrative of D'Aubuisson's conspiracy to kill archbishop Romero from the order given by D'Aubuisson to carry out what had already been planned, through the sharpshooter's shot from the entrance of the chapel at Divnia Providencia, to the report of "mission accomplished."
The published news articles do not state where Samayoa is today or whether he is still alive. If he is located, the question will again be front and center -- how should the sins of the civil war be addressed?