Jury deliberates fate of businessman accused of Miami murder-for-hire plot involving MMA fighters, gang member
MIAMI – After having to stare at gruesome photos for hours, the jury started to deliberate Wednesday afternoon on the fate of Manuel Marin, a Cuban-American businessman accused of a murder-for-hire plot targeting Camilo Salazar, a romantic rival.
Assistant State Attorney Jonathan Borst showed photos of Salazar’s bruised and partially burned body while Dr. Emma Lew, the Miami-Dade medical examiner who performed the victim’s autopsy over a decade ago, testified in court. She also stood up and held up a photo for the jury to see.
“He had two cuts across the front of his neck,” Lew said adding that Salazar, a 43-year-old father from Coconut Grove, had suffered bone fractures and burns in his genital area, and he was still alive when someone slit his throat without hesitation.
A poster-size photo on an easel facing the jury showed Salazar, as detectives found him with his hands bound on June 1, 2011, in a desolated area along Okeechobee Road, while Assistant State Attorney Justin Funck delivered his closing statement.
“Manuel Marin is the match that lit the fire. Manuel Marin started striking that match on March 15. He set that fire and let it burn. He let Camilo Salazar burn,” Funck said referring to Marin’s first call to Isaac in March 2011. “His ego, his pride, his machismo — that was the gasoline.”
Detectives identified the trio who abducted and tortured Salazar before killing him as Roberto Isaac, a Latin Kings gang member; and MMA fighters Alexis Vila Perdomo and Ariel Gandulla.
Salazar, a married interior designer, vanished on June 1, 2011, after dropping off his baby girl at his wife’s office in Coconut Grove. Detectives said his family and friends later found his car in the office’s parking lot, as they frantically searched for him.
Funck cited cell phone and SunPass records as “direct evidence” of Marin’s involvement in Salazar’s murder. He also listed Marin’s bank and property transfers before the murder as evidence that there was a premeditated plan.
Attorney Jose M. Quiñon, who defended Marin, argued there was insufficient evidence to find Marin, a former Presidente Supermarkets partner, guilty of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder.
You are not guilty simply because you may be in some place or you may associate with someone who commits a crime,” Quiñon said.
Vila Perdomo, who was Marin’s friend because they were both Cuban and shared an interest in MMA, “is the one who decides that he is going to help his friend,” Quiñon said during his closing statement later adding, “The plan was to scare Salazar.”
Quiñon said Isaac, who is the “violent” gang member, was the one who decided to kill Salazar — without Marin’s knowledge. He also said Isaac was the one who smelled like gasoline and not Marin, who he described as a hardworking father and doting husband who had hired maids and cooks to help and even bought the house next door to give his wife a second pool.
The prosecution, Quiñon said, just didn’t have enough evidence or a reliable witness to affirm with certainty that Marin had killed Salazar.
“This killing is something that took place in a place where nobody knows who really killed Mr. Salazar,” Quiñon told the jury.
Funck disagreed and argued that Marin was the one who “decided” Salazar had to die and since the plan was to kidnap him and kill him they held Salazar at Isaac’s house until Marin arrived from his family trip to Bimini, an island in the Bahamas.
Funck said Gandulla had testified that he saw Marin and the blue Mercedes-Benz.
“Marin is waiting with the hatch-up, back of the Mercedes lined in plastic,” Funck
Before the closing statements and jury instructions, Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Miguel M. de la O asked Marin if he wanted to testify even though Quiñon, a former Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County, had advised him not to.
With the help of a court translator, Marin told De la O that he had decided not to testify. Prosecutors also mentioned during the trial that Marin vanished a few days after the murder and surrendered to authorities in 2018 at a U.S. embassy in Spain to face charges in Miami-Dade.
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. He testified in the cases of Isaac, Vila Perdomo, and most recently Marin.
Quiñon questioned Gandulla’s honesty and motives and he asked jurors to disregard his testimony. Funck asked the jury to consider Gandulla could have chosen to remain in Canada with his family, but instead he pleaded guilty to kidnapping out of remorse.
Before deliberations started, De la O decided to dismiss a juror saying he had spent most of the trial sleeping and an alternate juror took his place. If the jury unanimously agrees to convict Marin, he could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Software investors must (re)learn these 3 ideas before getting into deep tech
Last year, The Information proclaimed the software investing playbook has gone from an exclusive recipe amongst VCs to common knowledge amongst all investors. That, in addition to cheap money, has turned software investing into a low-margin finance game.
Yet, traditional VCs are still stuck with their now low-margin businesses, unable to move forward and invest in the next big thing: deep tech.
But perhaps that’s for the best. After all, unless software investors can unlearn their own playbook, they’ll continue struggling with the innovator dilemma while they slowly go extinct alongside the companies they’re so eager to fund.
In other words, the software playbook is dead, not just doomed to fail. Here are three things software investors must relearn before investing in deep tech.
The market is king. Your founder has no power here
Software investors’ founder-first mantra is simply wrong in the world of deep tech. This type of magical thinking is exactly why their software playbook is doomed to fail.
Deep tech takes decades to bear fruit, not years, and it is virtually impossible for deep tech companies to do a hard pivot. Expecting founders to overcome physical and technological constraints is downright bad investing, especially in an era where cheap money tends to evaporate.
If you’re a software investor looking to invest in deep tech, you need to understand that the market is king here. A charismatic founder cannot be relied upon to “figure it out” along the way and a company’s team is only as good as its ability to exist inside its market.
With pivots out the window, a deep tech company needs to get the market right from day one. A half-baked, superficial hypothesis about product-market fit and go-to-market strategy is child’s play in the world of deep tech.
At 100 years old, I’m the ‘world’s oldest practicing doctor’—5 things I never do to live a long, happy life
When I was born in 1922, the average life expectancy in the U.S. was 58 years old for men, and 61 years old for women.
So as a 100-year-old practicing medical doctor and neurologist, patients often ask me for tips on how to stay healthy, happy and mentally sharp.
Good genes and a bit of luck can give you a head start, but here are some lifestyle rules I have lived by over the past century:
1. I don’t spend my days retired.
I’ve been working for more than 75 years, and was even named as the world’s oldest practicing doctor by the Guinness World Records. Sara, my wife of 65 years, also still practices psychoanalysis and psychiatry at age 89.
During the pandemic, I treated patients for five or six days a week. Then I switched to teaching medical residents for up to three days a week. (My hospital just shut down, so I’m currently doing medical legal review work while I look for another role.)
When I’m not working, I like spending time with my four children and 10 grandchildren, snowshoeing, and watching Cleveland sports.
If you’re blessed to have a career you enjoy and are still able to work, consider delaying retirement. Many people who retire and become inactive in their day-to-day routine are at an increased risk of cognitive decline.
2. I don’t let myself get out of shape.
Swimming, jogging, hiking and skiing well into my late-80s has kept me strong and healthy.
While I no longer ski and am not quite as active as I once was, I try to get in at least three miles on my treadmill at a brisk pace most days of the week. Watching Turner Classic Movies in the background helps curb some of the boredom.
Studies have found that something as simple as a 15-minute walk outside could lower your risk of premature death by almost 25%.
3. I don’t smoke.
When I was in high school in the 1930s, I told my father that I wanted to take up smoking. He said, “That’s alright with me. But why would anyone want to put anything but fresh air into his lungs when life is so short as it is?”
That immediately took the fun and excitement out of tobacco for me.
I remember attending medical meetings where doctors would, with a cigarette dangling from their mouths, tell patients to take up smoking because it would “curb your appetite and quiet your nerves.”
Today, we know that cigarette smoking leads to cancer, stroke, peripheral artery disease, coronary artery disease, and other pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases.
4. I don’t restrict myself.
Moderation allows us to live life to the fullest while also keeping us from going overboard and impacting our health in the long run.
I’ll have a martini and New York strip steak occasionally, but not every day. Sara is an excellent chef, and she’s helped me maintain a healthy and varied diet. We have salad with every meal, and enjoy greens like bok choy, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
The real secret to longevity is that there are no secrets. But we live daily and die once, so we must make the most of the time we have.
5. I don’t let my knowledge go to waste.
Having practiced neurology for over seven decades, I’ve witnessed medicine evolve from lobotomies to the latest computerized imaging techniques.
I thoroughly enjoy teaching my medical residents and students, and I learn a great deal from them as well.
I have also been participating in upcoming documentary about my life. It’s been a joy to share stories from my long career with the next generation.
Dr. Howard Tucker is a neurologist from Cleveland, Ohio and was named the ”Oldest Practicing Doctor″ by Guinness World Records. He received his law degree and passed the Ohio Bar Exam in his late 60s, and served as chief of neurology of the Atlantic fleet during the Korean War. A feature documentary about Dr. Tucker is in the works. Follow him on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.
GM will stop making the Chevy Camaro, but a successor may be in the works
The Chevrolet Camaro, for decades the dream car of many teenage American males, is going out of production.
General Motors, which sells the brawny muscle car, said Wednesday it will stop making the current generation early next year.
The future of the car, which is raced on NASCAR and other circuits, is a bit murky. GM says another generation may be in the works.
“While we are not announcing an immediate successor today, rest assured, this is not the end of Camaro’s story,” Scott Bell, vice president of Chevrolet, said in a statement.
The current sixth-generation Camaro, introduced in 2016, has done well on the racetrack, but sales have been tailing off in recent years. When the current generation Camaro came out in 2016, Chevrolet sold 72,705 of them. But by the end of 2021 that number fell almost 70% to 21,893. It rebounded a bit last year to 24,652.
GM said last of the 2024 model year of the cars will come off the assembly line in Lansing, Michigan, in January.
Spokesman Trevor Thompkins said he can’t say anything more about a future Camaro. “We’re not saying anything specific right now,” he said.
Any successor to the Camaro is expected to be electric
If GM revives the Camaro, it almost certainly will be electric, said Stephanie Brinley, an associate director with S&P Global Mobility. “It would be unlikely to see another internal combustion engine vehicle,” she said.
GM has said it plans to sell only electric passenger vehicles worldwide by 2035.
Brinley said the push to sell more electric vehicles makes it likely that all new muscle cars will be powered by batteries. But if there’s still a mixed combustion and battery fleet on sale in 2030 or 2040, some gas-powered muscle cars could survive.
Thompkins said GM has an understanding with auto-racing sanctioning bodies that the sixth-generation car can continue racing. GM will have parts available and the Camaro body will stay on the race track, he said.
NASCAR said that because the Generation 6 Camaro was in production when GM originally got permission to race, it remains qualified to race in NASCAR Cup and NASCAR Xfinity Series races.
GM will offer a collector’s edition package of the 2024 Camaro RS and SS in North America, and a limited number of high-performance ZL-1 Camaros. The collector’s edition cars will have ties to the first-generation Camaro from the 1960s and its GM code name “Panther,” the company said without giving specifics.
Other gas-powered muscle cars are on the way out too
GM’s move comes as traditional gas-powered muscle cars are starting to be phased out due to strict government fuel economy regulations, concerns about climate change and an accelerating shift toward electric vehicles.
Stellantis, will stop making gas versions of the Dodge Challenger and Charger and the Chrylser 300 big sedan by the end of this year. But the company has plans to roll out a battery-powered Charger performance car sometime in 2024.
Electric cars, with instant torque and a low center of gravity, often are faster and handle better than internal combustion vehicles.
Stellantis, formed in 2021 by combining Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA Peugeot, earlier this week announced the last of its special edition muscle cars, the 1,025 horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170. The company says the car can go from zero to 60 mph (97 kilometers per hour) in 1.66 seconds, making it the fastest production car on the market.
In addition, Ford rolled out a new version of its Mustang sports car in September.
The Camaro was first introduced in 1966, two years after Ford’s wildly popular Mustang.
GM retired the Camaro nameplate in 2002, but revived it as a new 2010 model with hopes of appealing to enthusiasts and younger buyers. The 2010 version was similar to its predecessors, with a long, flat front and side “gills” that evoke the original, while still sporting a modern overall design.
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