They lived quietly in middle-class neighborhoods until families of the slain women learned of their whereabouts from a reporter. The families failed in efforts to have the two tried in criminal court in their homeland, so they turned instead to the U.S. courts, filing suit against the men.
On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley, responding to jurors’ questions, said Garcia and Vides Casanova could be found liable if jurors concluded they knew or should have known that their soldiers were killing civilians and did nothing to stop them.
To find the men liable, the judge said, jurors would have to conclude the men did nothing to stop a pattern of violence and that doing nothing caused the deaths of the Americans.
Sister Madeline Dorsey, who was in El Salvador when her friends were killed, said the trial served a purpose despite the verdict.
“The truth is out now,” she said of civilian massacres in El Salvador during the long civil war. “We knew the truth at the beginning and now the American people know the truth.”