Saturday, November 8, 2014
DA: Brother also participated in Falls bludgeoning murder
Posted: Thursday, November 6, 2014
The Bucks County District Attorney’s Office now says that a 23-year-old Maryland man did participate in last month’s murder of a Trenton man in Falls.
Erick Sarceno, 23, of Silver Springs, and Trenton, originally had been in prison in lieu of $1 million cash bail on charges of possessing an instrument of crime, hindering apprehension and tampering with evidence in connection with the Oct. 19 killing of Jeronimo Villatoro.
On Thursday, he was arraigned again, this time on a homicide charge, and sent back to Bucks County’s prison with no bail.
Vittatoro was stabbed with a screwdriver and bludgeoned to death with a crowbar and beer bottle, police said. He was found critically injured with distressed breathing on West Post Road on the Morrisville-Falls border, and later died, they added.
Sarceno’s arraignment came one day after officials announced the arrest of a second suspect — Juan Antonio Marques-Villeda, of Trenton — in upstate New York Tuesday. Marques-Villeda is awaiting extradition to Pennsylvania to face murder and related charges in the case.
A witness, who called 911, claims to have seen both Marques-Villeda and Sarceno participate in the crowbar assault on Villatoro, according to court documents, which provide new details into the gruesome murder.
After responding to the call, Morrisville police stopped a white Chevy work van with Maryland plates near Ohio Avenue. Sarceno was in the driver’s seat and his younger brother Magnor, 19, was apprehended running from the van, they said.
Magnor Sarceno has not been charged in the crime, but is being detained as a material witness.
While in police custody, Magnor Sarceno allegedly claimed that he was in the rear of the van when he heard fighting outside. He went outside and saw Villatoro on the ground bleeding heavily from the head, court records show. Erick then ran around the side of the van and told him to get back inside while Marques-Villeda was running away.
Blood spatters were found on the outside of the passenger side of the van and two crowbars and a hammer inside, according to an affidavit of probable cause. An officer reportedly saw what appeared to be blood on the van’s front seat, and police later determined there was blood on the crowbar.
Police also said they recovered a broken and bloody Heineken beer bottle and bloody screwdriver on the ground near a wall against which the victim was lying.
Erick Sarceno reportedly claimed the men traveled to the area from Trenton in the Chevy work van that belonged to his boss. The men — who all worked for the same unidentified Trenton landscaping business — are believed to have been drinking together in an illegal bar in Trenton Oct. 18 into Oct. 19, authorities said.
Erick Sarceno said his brother was in the rear of the van, and Marques-Villeda — described as the brothers’ mother’s boyfriend — was in the front of the van with Villatoro, police said. The brothers each claim they didn’t know Villatoro, they added.
A verbal argument between Marques-Villeda and Villatoro turned physical after the men got out of the van on West Post Road, court documents show. Erick Sarceno claimed that Marques-Villeda chased Villatoro and hit him on the head with a crowbar. After the alleged assault, Marques-Villeda got back into the van, which then left the area.
“Erick said he could hear the victim screaming from the scene as he drove away,” according to the affidavit.
He also claimed that Marques-Villeda told him to return to the scene and that he was going to kill Villatoro, the affidavit said. Erick did, and Marques-Villeda got out and beat Villatoro with the crowbar again, court records show.
Marques-Villeda then fled into nearby woods, while the brothers took off in the van, the affidavit said.
Villatoro was taken to St. Mary Medical Center in Middletown where he was pronounced dead shortly before 9:30 a.m. An autopsy confirmed the man died of blunt force trauma to the head and had numerous stab wounds in his back and chest.
The U.S. Marshals Service apprehended Marques-Villeda after information led authorities to believe he was working as a roofer in upstate New York, Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler said.
The marshals tracked him to a development under construction and arrested him, Heckler said.
Villatoro and the suspects were in the United States illegally, authorities said. The Sarcenos and Marques-Villeda are being held on federal Immigration Customs Enforcement detainers, they added. The brothers and Marques-Villeda are from Guatemala, and authorities haven’t said where Villatoro lived before coming to the U.S.