Head down and surrounded by armed police, the first suspects arrested nearly a decade after the murder of Puerto Rican boxer Hector Camacho appeared in court Wednesday to face murder charges.
Five people were accused of murdering “Macho” Camacho and a friend while sitting inside a Ford Mustang in front of a bar in November 2012. His death shocked the many admirers of the boxer.
Three of the defendants are serving federal sentences for charges unrelated to Camacho’s death, and were flown in from Florida as part of the so-called “Operation Knockout.”RELATED
A fourth suspect was arrested at dawn in the same city where Camacho was killed. He came out wearing only a towel around his waist minutes after police surrounded his house and knocked on a window.
The fifth suspect is still in prison in Puerto Rico for a different case.
Authorities said two other suspects were killed in other cases, in 2013 and 2015.
Hours after the charges were filed, Camacho’s mother walked to the Puerto Rico Department of Justice and raised her fist.
“Justice! Justice was served!” she exclaimed, her voice cracking.
Camacho, 50, was shot in the face and declared clinically brain dead but was kept alive for several days as his family discussed what to do and supporters held a vigil outside the hospital.
Puerto Rican expeller Víctor Callejas, a close friend of Camacho, told The Associated Press that it was important to him that charges had finally been filed against several suspects in the case. He claimed that he continues to mourn the boxer.
“He is not the kind of person who looked for enemies. On the contrary, he always wanted people to laugh in one way or another. He was a unique character,” Callejas recalled.
Police said Camacho was shot outside the “Azuquita” bar in the northern city of Bayamón. He was sitting with a friend identified as Adrián Mojica Moreno, who had nine bags of cocaine in his pocket, while the tenth was open.
Moreno was shot.
Prosecutor Janet Parra, who oversees the Justice Department’s drug and organized crime division, said she could not reveal a motive for the murder or share evidence. However, she affirmed that the authorities followed up on all the information received, although many times it led them to a kind of dead end.
“We have not stood idly by,” he said.
Jessika Correa, chief prosecutor, added that she was satisfied with the arrests: “This case shook (the island)… A boxing glory from Puerto Rico dies.”
The suspects were identified as William Rodríguez Rodríguez, Luis Ayala García and Joshua Méndez Romero. They are being held on $800,000 bond.
The fourth suspect was identified as Jesus Naranjo Adorno, with bail set at $300,000. The fifth is Juan Figueroa Rivera, with a bail of one million.
Their attorneys were not immediately available for comment.
“They gave me justice,” said Camacho’s mother. “I can sleep in peace. I can eat and drink a little cup of coffee in the morning.”
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