MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A fingerprint examiner and a DNA analyst testified on Thursday during the trial of a Cuban-American businessman from Miami who stands accused of devising a gruesome murder-for-hire plot in 2011.
Prosecutors accused Manuel Marin, who is known as a former partner of The Presidente Supermarket grocery store chain, of being behind the murder of Camilo Salazar, 43, an interior designer who lived in Coconut Grove and who had an affair with his wife.
Adriana Kristaly, a forensic biologist and an expert in DNA analysis, is a criminologist with the Miami-Dade Police Department who worked on the case. She said the DNA evidence in the case was on the tie wraps and duct tape collected.
“The DNA present in the tie wraps is the same type as Camilo Salazar,” Kristaly said in court adding the same applied to the duct tape.
Kristaly also talked about the box cutters that detectives seized from Marin’s parked car. Attorney Jose M. Quiñon, a former Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County, was defending Marin, who is on trial for second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder, by arguing that there wasn’t any blood evidence on the box cutters.
“These were blood presumptive negative,” Kristaly said in court.
The jury also learned that Miami-Dade detectives who investigated Salazar’s murder reported the evidence showed the killers had tortured him, slit his throat, and used gasoline to burn part of his body. Quiñon reminded the jury Marin was out of town on the day of the murder. Detectives learned he was in Bimini.
Prosecutors accused Marin of hiring Roberto Isaac, former mixed-martial-arts fighter Alexis Vila Perdomo, and Ariel Gandulla to commit the murder on June 2011 in Miami-Dade. A fingerprint analyst testified Thursday that Gandulla left an impression of his pinky finger on Salazar’s car.
Two of Marin’s co-defendants were convicted in 2019.
Before their testimony during Marin’s trial on Wednesday, the women who were in a love triangle with Salazar had already testified a few years ago during the Miami-Dade County trials of Isaac and Vila Perdomo.
Both times, Jenny Marin, who was married to Marin when she had an affair with Salazar, described her husband’s angered reaction after he learned of the affair. Daisy Holcombe, Salazar’s widow, talked about the anguish that she felt after her husband vanished and his car turned up outside of her office.
As part of a plea agreement that included testifying against his accomplices, a judge sentenced Gandulla to 36 months in prison. Vila Perdomo was convicted of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder, and a judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison. Isaac was convicted of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and a judge sentenced him to life in prison.
ARREST IN 2018
After prosecutors filed the case against Manuel Marin on April 2, 2018, Presidente Supermarkets representatives released a statement saying his contribution to the business was not significant and he had “had no involvement whatsoever in the company since 2011.”
After Marin surrendered at a U.S. embassy in Spain. Records show Miami-Dade corrections booked him on Nov. 15, 2018, and a judge later denied him bond, records show. After his arraignment on Nov. 20, 2018, his trial was set for July 9, 2019, but that was delayed during discovery.
Before the ongoing trial began with opening statements on Tuesday, there were long delays — some of which were related to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were status hearings in 2021 and 2022, and Manuel Marin turned 69 in January while in custody.
Records show there is a trial hearing scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Friday, and Marin is being held at the Metrowest Detention Center. Testimony is scheduled to resume on Monday morning.
Coverage of the trial
- Oct. 31, 2019: Cellphone records show alleged killer near dumped body
- Oct. 30, 2019: Wife of Presidente Supermarket co-founder describes affair
- Oct. 30, 2019: Widow of victim in murder-for-hire plot testifies in court