Jurors find former Presidente Supermarkets partner guilty of manslaughter, kidnapping

MIAMI – Jurors delivered a verdict on Thursday in the murder-for-hire trial of a former partner of Presidente Supermarkets.

The jury deliberated for nearly five hours, ultimately finding defendant Manuel Marin not guilty of second-degree murder, but guilty of manslaughter, criminal conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and kidnapping.

Earlier this week, a detective testified that Marin’s cellphone was near the crime scene in 2011 when Camilo Salazar, 43, was killed.

Marin’s “phone pinged off of a tower which was located just north of the crime scene,” retired Miami-Dade Detective William Hladky said during his testimony.

Detectives accused a trio — Roberto Isaac, Alexis Vila Perdomo, and Ariel Gandulla — of abducting Salazar in Coconut Grove, torturing him, and killing him before using gasoline to burn a part of his body off Okeechobee Road near the Everglades.

Relatives and the widow of the victim were seen embracing one another Wednesday during graphic testimony from the former Miami-Dade medical examiner who said Salazar was tied up and beaten with an object strong enough to fracture his jaw and skull. She said he also had his throat slit and was burned -- all while he was still alive.

“The area of greatest burning was the pelvic area, including the genitalia,” Dr. Emma Lew said.

Gandulla, also known as Ariel Sarria, testified on Monday. He said he saw Marin in his blue Mercedes-Benz during Salazar’s kidnapping.

“Manny Marin is waiting with the hatch up -- back of the Mercedes lined in plastic,” State Attorney Justin Funck said.

Gandulla had already testified against Isaac and Vila Perdomo.

“I didn’t do enough to help somebody,” Gandulla said in Spanish about his motivation for pleading guilty to the kidnapping.

Attorney Jose M. Quiñon, a former Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County who is defending Marin, said there is evidence that his client was in Bimini on the day of the murder.

“You’re not guilty simply because you may be in some place or you may associate with someone who commits a crime,” Quiñon said.

Marin’s then-wife, Jenny Marin, testified last week that Salazar, an interior designer from Coconut Grove who was married to Daisy Holcombe, was killed after her husband found out she had an affair with him that lasted about two years.

Marin, a former Presidente Supermarkets partner, surrendered to authorities in 2018 at a U.S. embassy in Spain to face charges for the June 1, 2011 murder.

Marin’s son, Yaddiel Marin, was arrested in Miami-Dade County that same year on accusations that he helped his father financially while the elder Marin was in hiding.

Prosecutors charged Manuel Marin with second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder.

In 2019, a jury found Isaac guilty of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder, and Vila Perdomo guilty of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder. A judge sentenced Isaac to life in prison and Vila Perdomo to 15 years in prison.

As part of a plea agreement, a judge sentenced Gandulla to 36 months in prison, which he served. The Florida Department of Corrections released him on April 11, 2022.

Manuel Marin turned 69 in January while in the custody of Miami corrections. Records show he is being held at the Metrowest Detention Center.

After the verdict came down Thursday, defense attorneys said they would be filing an appeal.

Following that appeal will come the sentencing phase. Salazar’s family said that phase is when they expect to get their true closure.

About the Authors:

Roy Ramos joined the Local 10 News team in 2018. Roy is a South Florida native who grew up in Florida City. He attended Christopher Columbus High School, Homestead Senior High School and graduated from St. Thomas University.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.