alexis villa

MMA fighter Ariel Gandulla, pleaded guilty of kidnapping and agreed to testify against Alexis Vila.

Miami attorneys Javier Lopez, Evan Stroman and Dwayne Robinson of Kozyak, Tropin & Throckmorton are representing Daisy Holcombe, who’s seeking millions in a wrongful death lawsuit against former President Supermarkets co-owner Manuel Marin. The lawsuit accuses Marin of the 2011 killing of Camilo Salazar, who was kidnapped, bludgeoned, had his genitals burned and his throat slit.

As a criminal trial begins Monday against two men accused of torturing and killing a man at the request of former co-owner of Presidente Supermarkets Manuel Marin, Miami attorneys Javier Lopez, Evan Stroman and Dwayne Robinson of Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton are gearing up for a civil trial of their own.

The lawsuit accuses Marin of killing Camilo Salazar in 2011, and claims his first wife Maria Marin and son Yaddiel Marin helped him become and remain a fugitive in Spain for about seven years.

The murder was particularly gruesome as 43-year-old Salazar, who was having an affair with Marin’s second wife, was kidnapped, bludgeoned, had his genitals burned and his throat slit.

Salazar’s body was found on a rural dirt road on the edge of the Everglades.

“It was like a bad movie scene,” Lopez said.

Mixed martial arts fighter and trainer Alexis Vila Perdomo and promoter Roberto Isaac will face jurors Monday, while Marin is still awaiting trial. A fourth defendant, MMA fighter Ariel Gandulla, pleaded guilty in September of kidnapping Salazar and has agreed to testify against his associates.

Lopez, Stroman and Robinson represent Salazar’s widow Daisy Holcombe, who’s seeking millions in damages for wrongful death and conspiracy to commit wrongful death.

The suit alleges that about a week before the murder, Manuel Marin opened a joint bank account with his son and deposited a “substantial amount of money.” It also claims Manuel Marin transferred his half of a $14 million Palm Island home to Maria Marin, making her the sole owner. She sold the house about 15 months later, according to the complaint, which says $7 million in proceeds that would have been Marin’s remains “unaccounted for to this day.”

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“It follows that the transfer of his $7 million interest in his house before the murder was done so that this house could be sold and he could get the proceeds to continue to live and survive in Spain,” Lopez said.

The plaintiff alleges that, days after the murder, Yaddiel and Maria helped Manuel Marin board a plane to Madrid, where he “lived comfortably,” thanks to income from his supermarket chain and money that was sent to him. Marin allegedly transferred his interests in Presidente to his son about a month after the murder.

The former supermarket mogul surrendered to police in 2018 after his son was charged with accessory after the fact to murder. That charge was reduced to resisting arrest as Yaddiel Marin agreed to pay $10,000 to a victims’ rights organization.

Yaddiel Marin also owns stakes in other businesses, including the Pincho Factory restaurant chain, the Spot Barbershop and PokeBoa in Coral Gables, according to the plaintiffs team.

The defendants have denied any wrongdoing.

Yaddiel Marin’s attorney Mathew D. Gutierrez said his client is aware of the upcoming criminal trial but has no involvement or knowledge of any of the alleged conduct.

“That is why the state of Florida dropped its felony charge against Yaddiel Marin,” Gutierrez said. “The civil case against Yaddiel Marin is frivolous. He looks forward to ending that lawsuit with a summary judgment in his favor.”

Maria Marin’s attorney William McCaughan Jr. shared a similar sentiment.

“Maria Marin denies all allegations in this frivolous lawsuit,” he said. “The allegations made against Ms. Marin are baseless manipulations of a tragic set of facts of which Ms. Marin had absolutely no involvement. Ms. Marin looks forward to ending this case in her favor at summary judgment or trial.”

Manuel Marin’s attorney Carlos Velasquez did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.

The case is unique in that it survived a motion to dismiss, which claimed the case lacked merit and that a two-year statute of limitations barred it.

But plaintiff counsel disagree.

“The law will hold you to account, and we’re going to do our best to see that that happens in this case,” Robinson said.

One of Salazar’s two daughters was 7 years, while the other was a few weeks old when he was killed.

Lopez said the murder has hung over Salazar’s family for eight years, while they wondered whether his killers would ever be caught.

“It’s very difficult for the family because in one respect they’ve never had justice, but in the other respect it’s kind of like ripping off a scab,” Lopez said. ”This happened eight years ago and they have to relive it all over again in the criminal trial, which is going to be a pretty gruesome trial, as well as the civil trial. But they are ready to go through it.”

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Alan Fine will preside over a special set hearing in the civil suit on Oct. 31.