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Ex-MMA fighter, associate receive max sentences for roles in murder-for-hire plot

Roberto Isaac, Alexi Vila Perdomo hired by Manuel Marin to kill wife’s lover

GF Default - Men hired by supermarket mogul to kill wife's lover get max sentences
GF Default - Men hired by supermarket mogul to kill wife's lover get max sentences

MIAMI – A month after two men were found guilty of charges stemming from the kidnapping and murder of a prominent businessman’s wife’s lover, each received max sentences for their role in the crimes in a Miami courtroom Tuesday morning.

Roberto Isaac, 63, received life in prison for second-degree murder and kidnapping, and 15 years for conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder.

His accomplice, Alexis Vila Perdomo, 48, a former professional MMA fighter and Olympic medalist, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for conspiracy to commit kidnapping and/or murder.

Before the judge handed out sentencing, family members of Salazar addressed the judge, encouraging the harshest possible penalties for each man’s role in the actions that led to authorities finding Salazar’s burned and mutilated body in the Everglades on June 2, 2011.

According to investigators, Vila Perdomo and Isaac were two-of-three men hired by Manuel Marin to kill Salazar, who was having an affair with his wife Jenny Marin.

A third man, Ariel Gandulla, a former MMA training partner of Vila Perdomo, faced similar charges as Isaac and Vila Perdomo. State prosecutors reduced his sentence to 36 months after he agreed to testify against Vila Perdomo and Isaac.

With the help of Gandulla, as well as cellphone experts and now retired Miami-Dade police investigators, state prosecutors were able to piece together the final 24 hours of Salazar’s life and each suspect’s role in the abduction and murder.

Salazar’s abduction and murder

Starting between 10 and 11 a.m. on the morning of Salazar's abduction, Gandulla and Isaac were in the area of Salazar’s home and his wife’s office, arrest records said.

This was also affirmed after investigators found one of Gandulla’s fingerprints on Salazar’s Chevrolet Trailblazer, which was found a half-block from the office of Salazar’s wife.

From 11 a.m. to noon, various cellphone towers picked up pings from the phones of Gandulla and Isaac as the pair traveled north through Miami-Dade County, allegedly with Salazar.

Around 3:30 p.m., cellphone location data showed that Marin had shown up for the first time in the vicinity of Isaac near Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, reports said.

About 30 minutes later, Salazar’s phone, along with Isaac and Marin, showed that all three were in the same area.

Isaac and Marin continued to ping the same towers along the same route south and west through Miami-Dade throughout the late afternoon, investigators said. By this time, Gandulla was no longer traveling with Marin and Isaac and was believed to have returned to his home, investigators said.

At 5:02 p.m., Marin’s Sunpass records showed a receipt from the southbound exit of Okeechobee Road off the Florida Turnpike, which was approximately 3 miles from where Salazar’s A short time later, Isaac and Marin’s phones pinged the same tower closer to where Salazar’s body was found on Okeechobee Road.

Authorities discovered Salazar’s body at 6:30 p.m.

By 6:38 p.m., Marin’s vehicle was 13 miles south at the Bird Road exit off the Florida Turnpike.

At 7 p.m., investigators believe that Isaac and Marin drove to Gandulla’s residence and Salazar’s phone once again pinged a cellphone tower.

Based on more Sunpass receipts and cellphone location information, authorities believed that Marin returned to his home in Lighthouse Point that evening.

Vila Perdomo was in Las Vegas, cellphone records indicated, though call records revealed several calls to him, and between all four suspects throughout the day.

Marin, a former owner and operator of President Supermarket stores in South Florida, has long been considered by state prosecutors to be the true mastermind behind the murder. He is currently in custody and awaiting trial in early 2020.

About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."