Last suspect in car dealer’s slay falls

Victim’s father calls arrest of gunman an ‘early Christmas gift’

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01:07 AM December 14th, 2012

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December 14th, 2012 01:07 AM

An early Christmas gift.

This was how Arsenio “Boy” Evangelista described the arrest of Joel Jacinto—the last suspect in last year’s brutal killing of his son—by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) at a market in Las Piñas City yesterday morning.

Evangelista said he was attending a hearing in Muntinlupa City in connection with the case filed against suspected car theft gang leader Roger Dominguez, another suspect in his son’s death, when he learned about Jacinto’s arrest.

“The suspects in the death of Venson who celebrated his 34th birthday on Monday are now all accounted for,” he told the Inquirer in an interview at the NBI headquarters.

Venson, a car dealer like his father, disappeared in Quezon City in January last year after he accompanied two prospective buyers who wanted to test drive the Land Cruiser he was selling.  His charred body was later found in Cabanatuan City but the sport utility vehicle had disappeared.

Before his arrest, Jacinto had been tagged by star witness Alfred Mendiola as the one who pointed a gun at Venson during the test drive. Another accused, Rolando Talban, the supposed gunman of the Dominguez carjacking group, claimed that Jacinto was the one who killed the younger Evangelista.

P600,000 bounty

Jerome T. Hernandez of the NBI’s Reaction, Arrest and Interdiction Division said that he and his men apprehended the suspect who carried a P600,000 bounty on his head based on a warrant issued by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 215 Judge Ma. Luisa Quijano-Padilla.

“He was buying fish when we nabbed him inside a market in Las Piñas. He did not resist arrest,” Hernandez told Inquirer.

Jacinto came face to face with Evangelista who immediately rushed to the NBI when he heard about the former’s capture.

The suspect told Evangelista he joined the car robbery group headed by Dominguez and his brother, Raymond, to support his family as he has no means of livelihood.

He also admitted that he was part of the group that abducted Venson. He denied, however, that he was the one who killed Venson although he volunteered the information that he helped dispose of the victim’s body.

According to him, he accompanied Mendiola when they went to Venson’s house to inquire about the Land Cruiser, a day before they went on the test drive. He posed as a mechanic, he added.

P15,000 to P20,000 take

He also said that for every successful “operation” conducted by the group, the Dominguezes paid him P15,000 to P20,000.

The Dominguez brothers are now detained at New Bilibid Prison after they were convicted in connection with another car theft case.

Mendiola, who turned state witness against the brothers, was found dead earlier this year in Dasmariñas City, Cavite province. He had been shot in the head with a .45-cal. pistol.

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