Alfredo Balli Trevino Real Hannibal
Undated picture of Alfredo Ballí Treviño, the inspiration behind Hannibal Lecter. Here wearing his signature white shoes and dark shades, and a light-colored ensemble. Facebook

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of "The Silence of the Lambs," author Thomas Harris has released a new edition with a preface in which he, for the first time, opens up about the real life doctor who gave him the inspiration to create the infamous character "Hannibal Lecter."

Although he referred to him as "Dr. Salazar," the information provided matched a very peculiar case covered by the Mexican media in the early 1960's about a medical intern who was the last person in Mexico to be sentenced with the death penalty.

That person was doctor Alfredo Ballí Treviño, convicted for the murder of his sentimental partner, Jesús Castillo Rangel. He was also accused of secretly burying his victim's body and usurpation of profession, but his sentence was commuted to 20 years at the Topo Chico Penitentiary in Nuevo León.

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Ballí Treviño was born in Méndez, Tamaulipas on October 2, 1931. He was the second of five kids, and his parents always encouraged all their children to study and become successful. That's why Alfredo and two of his brother went to med school.

Alfredo had a very strict character, just like his father, and they both liked to carry a gun around. Although he wasn't allowed a weapon in prison, Alfredo's attitude and the nature of the crime that brought him to jail, helped him win the respect of other inmates.

It was also beneficial for his time in jail, the fact that he offered medical services to the other prisoners and even performed minor surgeries.

"He helped many people in jail and he became so good that, with time, he was even allowed to go out at nights to see patients," said an unidentified source to Mexico's newspaper Reforma.

The source added that he never lost his sense of style. He wore light colored ensembles, suits, white shoes, dark shades (because he was sensitive to light) and a golden Rolex President that he carried around everywhere and no one dared to touch. However, he lost the watch when he threw away a sock where he kept it, along with money.

"I went and came back from hell, and ended up losing in in a sock," he always lamented.

Many remember Ballí Treviño as a very reserved man, and some think that he might have killed more than one person. However, no evidence was found.

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Although the crime he committed was catalogued as a "crime of passion" because his victim, Jesús Castillo Rangel was allegedly his boyfriend, he married Dolores Montiel before going to jail, but she died while he was still imprisoned. As a free man, he remarried a woman named Cristina, who died five years after Ballí Treviño was released.

He had children and grandchildren. His first born had his same name and died from cancer in 2010.Alfredo Jr.'s son, also carried the same name and died in a car accident a while after.

Although many judged the doctor after he was released from jail, he continued to practice medicine at the same place he had killed his victim. His patients were mostly senior citizens, whom he didn't charge or suggested a symbolic contribution.

He died in his sleep when he was 77 from prostate cancer in February 2009.

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A family friend who requested anonnimity revealed that when it was known that Harris was publishing a novel, Ballí didn't give much importance to it. However, when the movie "The Silence of the Lambs" came out, he figured out he had been the inspiration behind Hannibal Lecter, and his family started making fun of him and calling him "Hannibal" or "Doctor Lecter."

According to that friend, Ballí Treviño thought it was "funny" they called him that.

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