The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Trial for 2009 murder starts today


May 18, 2015


Opening arguments begin today in the murder trial of a Belen man accused in a 2009 death of Marco Bonilla of Portales.

Marvin Silva, 40, is accused of first degree murder by bludgeoning 25-year-old Bonilla during a street brawl Nov. 23, 2009.

At the time of the incident, Portales Police Deputy Chief Lonnie Berry said Lucio Ramirez, 22, of Portales was charged with hitting Silva in the head with a hammer.

Ramirez was charged with aggravated battery in 2009, according to Portales News-Tribune reports. The charge was dismissed in 2010.

Police determined the Nov. 23 brawl began with three Portales residents — Marco Bonilla, his brother Rodrigo Bonilla, age unknown, and Ramirez — arriving by automobile at a house on Ivy Street.

Witnesses said the three got out of the vehicle and armed themselves with a hammer, a green pipe and a board.

Ramirez told police he approached Silva, who was at the residence, and hit him in the head with the hammer.

Then, he said, Leroy Salas, 53, of Portales was struck with the hammer and the board.

Berry said after being struck, Salas ran to North Avenue A and Hickory Street. Further fighting took place there, and Bonilla received multiple stab wounds from which he later died.

As for Ramirez’s motives for hitting Silva, Berry said he told police he was “looking for a fight.”

Berry also said police did not believe there was pre-existing animosity between Salas and the three men in the car.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Stover said Salas, now 59, was convicted in 2013 of voluntary manslaughter for stabbing Bonilla.

Defense Attorney Gary Mitchell said he intends to prove his client held no weapon that night and only struck back in self-defense.

“He did not have a knife,” Mitchell said. “He did not stab him, and all the actions he took were in self-defense and defense of others.”


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