MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Two men, including the brother of an NFL player, were both booked at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on Wednesday and appeared in front of a Miami-Dade County judge on Thursday to face charges for a murder that happened more than four years ago in Sweetwater.
Donterio Fowler, 25, and Keondre Fields, 23, both from the St. Petersburg area, had played football together and they were both students at ASA College in Hialeah when the murder happened on Dec. 12, 2016, at 10899 SW 4 St., according to the Miami-Dade Police Department.
Miami-Dade Detective Jonathan Grossman said murder victim Michael Zaldua’s phone records showed several communications with a phone number that was registered to Fowler’s brother Dante Fowler, according to the July 23rd arrest warrant. Dante Fowler is a defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons who played for the University of Florida and is not a suspect in the case.
Donterio Fowler had used that phone number as a contact in his application to ASA College, according to Grossman. Miami-Dade detectives interviewed Rudi Outar, another former ASA College student, on July 12. He told them Donterio Fowler, then 20, and Fields, then 18, were both at the crime scene when he heard the gunshots, records show.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue personnel found Zaldua, a 21-year-old Florida International University honors student and freelance photographer, dead about 10:50 p.m. next to his green Jeep at the 4th Street Commons apartment complex’s parking garage. The medical examiner’s office later determined he had been shot in the head.
Officers found several large Ziploc bags with marijuana and a small bag of cocaine inside Zaldua’s Jeep and cash on the floor. There was a tire pattern on Zaldua’s blood that matched the tires of Donterio Fowler’s 2014 black Dodge Charger and surveillance video that placed the car in the garage, according to Grossman.
Hours before the shooting, Alfonso Randolph told Florida International University police officers that Rudi Outar had stolen his SCCY CPX-1 9mm semi-automatic pistol. Outar said he took Randolph’s gun, drove a white four-door Audi A4 to the garage and he gave the stolen gun to Donterio Fowler, who then handed it to Fields, according to Grossman.
Surveillance video shows Zaldua’s Jeep entered the garage about 10:20 p.m. and the Dodge Charger and Audi entered about 10:26 p.m. The video shows the Dodge and Audi left the garage about 10:36 p.m., but the Audi returned about 10:50 p.m. and left about 10:53, according to the arrest warrants.
Detectives also reported not being able to find the stolen gun but being able to match 9mm casings to a casing in the original case of the stolen gun, records show. After ballistic tests, detectives believe it is possible that Fields shot at Zaldua from the back of the car, records show.
Deputies arrested Fowler and Donterio Fowler on Monday in Pinellas County. They were extradited to Miami-Dade County and they are each facing one count of first-degree murder with a deadly weapon. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Mindy S. Glazer denied bond in both cases. Attorney Michael Grieco is representing Donterio Fowler.
The case involved officers from the Florida International University, Sweetwater, and Miami-Dade police departments and deputies from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Assignment Desk Editor Guadalupe Monarrez contributed to this report.