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The story of Don Juan Manuel de Solorzano

In the life of one of the most famous killers of the colony, history and legend are intertwined, realism and imagination. Don Juan Manuel de Solórzano, lived in a large house near what is now the avenue "20 de Noviembre" in the center of Mexico City. In 1636, the opulent gentleman had married the daughter of a wealthy miner from Zacatecas, Miss Mariana de Laguna. From the beginning, Don Juan Manuel had been tormented by terrible jealousies without reason, which led him to obsession, legend says that his jealousy increased when his Excellency, the Viceroy Marquis de Cadereyta, a neighbor of the Solorzanos, began to frequent the House of the beautiful Mariana. As Don Juan Manuel was in charge of the administration of certain branches of the royal taxes, the fleets that came to the peninsula and the traffic of products was his business, such occupation forced him to leave his house frequently.

According to legend Don Juan Manuel suffered more because time passed and children did not reach marriage. For some moments, the tormented spirit thought of retiring to the convent of San Francisco, in search of peace. Between being overshadowed and being careful, Solórzano sent for a nephew from Spain to manage his property and take advantage to care for his beautiful consort. However, such a nephew was so brave and handsome that he was well received by Mariana, which led Don Juan Manuel to total despair.

Damaged by the devil because of his jealousy, Solorzano offered to sell his soul to the devil in exchange for finding out who his deceased his wife. The devil accepted and made the pact: Don Juan Manuel was to leave at night, and approach him to whoever passed by his house and kill him at 11 o'clock precisely, the devil would point to the culprit appearing next to the corpse. At night Don Juan Manuel came out of his house, wrapped in a broad cape, with a hat whose feathers practically covered his face and approaching the innocent transseunte asked:

"Sorry for being habitual, what time is it?" "Eleven o'clock," answered the poor victim, then the madman answered: "Fortunate you, who know the time when he is going to die.", The knife gleamed in the darkness, could hear the stifling cry, the blow that gave the corpse When he collapsed on the floor and the mute and impassive assassin opened the door again and walked through the courtyard, up the stairs and went to his room. Of course, frequent murders captured the attention of justice, and neighbors began to talk about spells and spells on the street. With things like this, one night the serene man took Don Manuel's room to the corpse of his unfortunate nephew. Once he realized his crimes, Don Juan Manuel ran to confess with the Friars of San Francisco.

As penance should pray before the public forges, three nights in a row, a rosary for the souls of the innocents he had killed. From the first penance, Don Juan Manuel had horrible visions of funerals where he was the corpse. The third night Solorzano was found hanging from the gallows without knowing how or who had done justice, the popular imagination soon saw the hands of an angel who had hanged the jealous man and was consigned by tradition

However, history gives us another version, which became the forgotten chapter of this legend. Don Juan Manuel de Solórzano was a native of Burgos, Spain and had arrived in Mexico accompanied by the Marquis de Guadal who wanted to take possession of Viceroy XIII of New Spain in 1612. A wealthy man with great social estates, Don Juan Manuel soon found a place Between the dominating spheres and became very good friend and adviser of Lope Ten of Armendariz, Marquess of Cadereita that in 1635 was named Viceroy XVI. With Cadereita, Solorzano obtained great presence in the court and became the consent of the viceroy; The Audiencia complained of certain administrative anomalies in which Solórzano was involved. The popular disgust made the viceroy's consent increased so much that an uprising was feared by all. But the viceroy arranged the matter favorably and confirmed Solorzano in the position. However, for the Audience, the result was not very pleasant

The opportunity to pay the bills came in 1640, when news came from the Catalan Insurrection, which had captured the attention of all royalty and of course the viceroy as well. One fine day, Don Juan Manuel was arrested and put in jail by order of Francisco Velez de Pereira whose job was Attorney General. In prison, Don Juan Manuel learned that Velez de Pereira as well as envy him for being the king's consent also envied his beautiful wife as she went to visit the faithful Mariana but she did not allow anything else to happen. A fellow cell also rich, he thought in some way that would allow Don Juan Manuel to leave the jail for a while so he could see how Mariana was behaving. One of those nights, he surprised the mayor in a pleasant conversation with his wife, blinded by fury. Solórzano killed him, the scandal was enormous and the superior authorities of the viceroyalty were met with a political complication and a crime of passion. The ignominy of the mayor's motives would go out to the public, he would visit Mariana to persuade her to surrender her virtue in exchange for her husband's freedom. The Audiencia did not want to proceed against the murder, since to do so would further disgrace the official dead and the viceroy wanted to save his friend at all costs, the conflict ended when one morning in October 1641, Solorzano was found hanging. The story says that there is no mystery, no hands of an angel, but simply the order of certain hearers of the Audiencia