As the one-year anniversary of his conviction in Nicaragua approaches, a verdict in the appeal of Jason Puracal could come as soon as Friday. (97.3 KIRO FM Photo/Brandi Kruse)

Puracal family awaits ruling in Nicaraguan appeal

As the one-year anniversary of his conviction in Nicaragua approaches, a verdict in the appeal of Tacoma-man and University of Washington graduate Jason Puracal could come as soon as Friday.

Supporters, however, say it is more likely that a decision will be announced on Monday.

In a hearing that ended on Tuesday, Puracal, 35, asked a three-judge appellate panel in Granada, Nicaragua to overturn his conviction and 22-year sentence on charges that he laundered drug money out of his Re/MAX real estate office in the resort village of San Juan del Sur.

The panel will determine whether Puracal should serve out the remainder of his sentence or be released. His prison term could also be commuted.

His sisters, Janis and Jaime, returned to the Seattle-area this week after watching the proceedings.

While she is "cautiously optimistic" that the conviction will be overturned, Janis Puracal, a Seattle and Portland-based attorney, spoke to KIRO FM Thursday about the possibility that her brother could be set free.

"The first thing he's going to want to do is come home and sleep in his warm bed, have a big meal with his family, and take a hot shower," Janis Puracal said. "We're going to want to take him out to some of his favorite restaurants and take him to see some of his best friends up here who are all waiting anxiously for him to come home."

Since his arrest in November 2010, Jason Puracal has maintained his innocence. The Nicaraguan National Police claim he was part of a drug smuggling operation that brought cocaine up from Costa Rica.

He was convicted of drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime on August 29, 2011.

The 10 co-defendants in his case have also appealed their convictions.

Brandi Kruse, KIRO Radio Reporter
Brandi Kruse is a reporter for KIRO Radio who is as spontaneous and adventurous in her free time as she is on the job. Brandi arrived at KIRO Radio in March 2011 and has already collected three regional Edward R. Murrow awards for her reporting.
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