Sebastián Armendano
Sebastián Armendano is in prison and writes literature as a means of relief. | Infobae

Murderer who once sought death turns to writing children’s books

I made you live the last day of your life, and I will never stop condemning myself.

Sebastián Armendano portrait
First-person source
Sebastián Armendano is 46 years old and had spent more than half his life in prison.

I remember you every day, Horacio, and I do not excuse myself.

I apologize. I look at the image of Christ at every moment, and I ask him to forgive me for having murdered you. I didn’t want to; the bullet escaped me, I swear to you.

I am not attempting to justify myself or my actions. I set up the robbery scene that Feb. 5, 1998. I made you live the last day of your life, and I will never stop condemning myself.

I had no right to take a person’s life. Now I live behind bars for my mistake.

In my darkest hours, I wanted to die. It felt like the only choice.

That changed when I discovered a love for literature.

Discovering who I am

Before living this life immersed in literature, everything was chaos.

If I rewind the tape of my life so far to my childhood, it was tough but happy.

I grew up with my mother, though she separated from my dad when I was six years old, and we suffered many deficiencies. I guess that’s what led me to steal.

I grew up on the street and everything was an adventure.

The hunger, the cold, the fact that they hit you… the suffering itself made me feel alive.

I created a character so that my reality hurt less.

I committed my first robbery at 13 or 14 years old in a warehouse. I don’t remember my exact age, but nobody forgets their first robbery.

That same year, I ended up in an institute for minors.

As soon as I reached the age of majority, I moved to an adult prison for the murder that marked a “before-and-after” moment in my life: I took the life of Horacio Luis Dos Santos.

Worst decision of my life

While I surround myself with good energies and try to absorb them to manage pain, the head takes over when the night comes.

Often, I lay my head on the pillow to cry.

The murder of Horacio will be a cross that I will have to carry for the rest of my life.

It sounds kind of contradictory to say I didn’t mean to hurt him.

My stupidity was carrying a weapon to intimidate, and unfortunately, a circumstance happened that made me fear for my life. I thought the man was going to take the gun from my partner.

In a mistake, the bullet escaped from my gun, and I killed him.

I keep it in mind every day. No matter how much I try to work through it, that shadow will follow me.

Prison service where Sebastián has been held for more than 20 years.

The only solution

One day in jail, I asked to be put to death.

Perhaps most people reading these lines think it is because I wanted to die.

The truth is I did not want to die. I had so much desire to live that it came out of my pores.

My request for euthanasia was a way to get attention. It was a strategy for the Azul Judicial Department to grant me benefits.

I didn’t want to continue “surviving” in this place where you close your eyes to go to sleep, but you don’t know what will happen to you.

In a hostile environment like a prison, I can’t be fragile. People can’t see me cry.

It is necessary to show myself as strong, and writing helps.

I was not and am not crazy. I don’t consider myself that way.

I want to live like anyone who sees how wonderful life can be.

“Animales Concienzudos” is one of his books.

Literature as salvation

If the topic is my mental recovery, without hesitation, I put literature in the foreground.

I gave myself to it as a saving shield and it saved me from hell.

I write because everything is adjustable.

In literature, I can summon the absent, resurrect a character, create worlds that differ from each other, and even change my story’s ending.

Thanks to literature, I can make Dos Santos live.

Now, my life has other nuances. I have children, grandchildren, and a partner who is also a writer.

I wrote three novels, an anthology of children’s stories, and, above all, I dream. I dream like I never did before. I dream of being accessible and living off literature.

I fantasize about leaving here and being a person who joins society to contribute good things, “bits” of changes that the world needs.

I wish to immortalize myself through lyrics.

Life is a moment and time is an obsolete resource that complements each other and leaves.

That is why I write.

Someday they’ll forget me, but my books will remain forever.

I transform pain into luminosity. I transform myself every day through my writing.

Children’s stories lead me to identify with healthy and innocent people. They serve to heal my soul.

With writing, I try to patch up many mistakes. I experience internal catharsis with the things that happened to me.

If one day I am free, I will do what I can to fulfill one of my biggest dreams: to create a community dining room and give literary workshops in deprived neighborhoods where culture does not reach.

According to most recent statistics from official figures, during the first six months of 2020, the Argentine authorities registered 1,044 homicides, a slight decrease with respect to the number of murders registered during that same period in 2019, according to data from the Minister of Security, Sabina Frederic, and the System National Criminal Intelligence.

This put the country on track to record 2,088 homicides at the end of the year and a homicide rate of 4.6 per 100,000 residents, just below the 2019 total count.

Daiana Stocco studies Social Communication. She currently writes articles of general interest in Latinamericanpost. She has experience in news writing and is about to launch her own blog to publish her poems and communication concepts.