By LAUREN SILVER Court TV
MIAMI (Court TV) — The former owner of Presidente Supermarkets, Manuel Marin, has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the killing of Camilo Salazar.
On March 30, 2023, a jury found Marin guilty of manslaughter, which was a lesser charge than second-degree murder, and guilty of kidnapping. The judge adjudicated Marin guilty of criminal conspiracy to commit kidnapping and aggravated battery without a weapon.
The judge sentenced Marin to 30 years for manslaughter, 15 years for conspiracy to commit kidnapping or aggravated battery, and life in prison for kidnapping.
Marin was accused in a murder-for-hire plot that killed Camilo Salazar, whose body was found partially burned on a dirt road in the Florida Everglades in 2011. Salazar allegedly had an affair with Marin’s wife, and Marin is accused of hiring men to kill Salazar after finding out, WTVJ reported. Marin was charged with second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and kidnapping.
In November 2019, a jury convicted Alexis Vila Perdomo of conspiracy and Roberto Isaac of kidnapping, conspiracy and taking part in Salazar’s murder. The two men were found guilty of beating, torturing and kidnapping Salazar, whose body was found with his throat slashed and partially burned, according to WTVJ.
Prosecutor Gail Levine argued the affair was the motive for the murders, saying in closing arguments, “I am not here to tell you that I think that Camilo Salazar was a great guy for cheating on his wife. You don’t get kidnapped, tortured and murdered in the most gruesome way because you had an affair.”
According to Florida Department of Corrections records, Perdomo was sentenced to 15 years in prison and will be eligible for release on Aug. 16, 2032. Isaac was sentenced to life in prison.
During the sentencing, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Miguel de la O addressed Isaac directly, saying, “Inside you is a cold-blooded mercenary, because you did this solely out of money,” WSVN reported.
In a statement to the court, Isaac said, “I committed a crime, and I’m guilty, and I feel sorry and bad that you lost your son,” as he addressed the victim’s family.
Marin’s wife, Jennifer, testified at the trial for Perdomo and Isaac, where she described a confrontation with her husband after he learned of her affair, WPLG reported.
“He had a crazed look. He was kind of smiling and kind of serious. He was walking very rigid.”
In the affidavit of probable cause in Marin’s case, obtained by Court TV, Jennifer Marin told police that Salazar reported being approached by Manuel Marin after the latter learned of his wife’s affair. Salazar described Marin as being “raged” and said that he drove away. Salazar later told Jennifer Marin that he saw Manuel driving her car up and down the street in front of his home, police said.
A former MMA fighter, Ariel Gandulla, was the third man allegedly involved in the plan to attack Salazar. Gandulla pleaded guilty to kidnapping in Sept. 2019 and was sentenced to 36 months in prison, WTVJ reported.
Investigators said Marin fled the country shortly after Salazar’s body was found, WSVN reported. In the affidavit of probable cause, police said that Jennifer Marin tried to report her husband missing after he failed to come home on June 4, 2011. On June 8, Jennifer Marin received a call from her husband from an overseas exchange.
Marin was arrested in Spain and had his first appearance in a Florida court in Oct. 2018.
Linking the suspects in the case, police said that Perdomo and Marin originally met in Cuba in 1993, and that Marin helped Perdomo emigrate to the United States from Puerto Rico after defecting from Cuba. Marin gave Perdomo a job in his supermarkets as well as helped him to open a wrestling studio. Police said that Perdomo met Isaac through a mutual friend and that Isaac had offered Perdomo financial support after his release from prison in 2007. Police said Gandulla and Perdomo met in Miami, where both were Mixed Martial Arts fighters. Gandulla was in Perdomo’s corner on multiple occasions during MMA events.
DAILY TRIAL UPDATES
Day 7 – 3/30/23
- A jury convicted Marin of manslaughter (lesser than the charge of second-degree murder) and kidnapping.
- The judge adjudicated Marin guilty of criminal conspiracy to commit kidnapping and criminal conspiracy to aggravated battery.
- The judge ordered a presentence investigation to be returned on May 12, which is when he will set a sentencing date.
Day 6 – 3/29/23
- Retired medical examiner Dr. Emma Lew testified that Camilo Salazar died from multiple injuries — blunt force trauma, burns to his body and his throat being slit — each of which on its own could have been fatal.
- Lew testified that Salazar was alive and in great pain when he suffered the injuries
- In the state’s closing argument, prosecutor Justin Funck said the evidence showed Marin planned to kill Salazar and that the defendant was the “boss” calling the shots.
- In the defense’s closing argument, attorney Jose Quiñon said the plan was to “scare” Salazar, not to kidnap or kill him.
- The jury began deliberations and met for approximately 45 minutes.
Day 5 – 3/28/23
- Cell phone expert testified that Manuel Marin was in contact with alleged co-conspirators the day of the murder and that both Marin and the victim’s phone were near the crime scene at the same time.
- Prosecutors said Marin fled the country following the murder.
Day 4 – 3/27/23
- Ariel Gandulla, who pleaded guilty to kidnapping in connection with the case, testified that he had met Alexis Perdomo and Roberto Isaac
- Gandulla testified that he was with Perdomo and Isaac when they kidnapped Camilo Salazar and placed zip ties on him.
- Gandulla said he did not know that there was an intention to harm Salazar and he never saw any violence.
DAY 3 – 3/23/23
- A fingerprint on a white Chevy Trailblazer matched that of former MMA fighter Ariel Gandulla.
- DNA from duct tape, zip ties and a cigarette butt matched the DNA of victim Camilo Salazar.
- Adriana Kristala, a DNA analyst for the Miami-Dade Police Department, testified that the duct tape tested negative for presumptive blood.
DAY 2 – 3/22/23
- Manuel Marin’s ex-wife, Jenny Marin, testified about her affair with Camilo Salazar, which prosecutors say was the motive for the murder.