Judge denies self defense argument for Mario Alfaro

In a hearing on Wednesday, the judge found probable cause exists to hold Mario Alfaro without bail for the murder of Jonathan Vilchez.

Vilchez was fatally shot outside of the Lucky corner market in the 5400 block of Georgia Ave. NW, on Nov. 8. Upon arrival, police found Vilchez inside of the store with multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead shortly after. Alfaro was located later and transported to a hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening wounds.

During Alfaro’s preliminary hearing, the prosecution submitted three videos along with the affidavit for their evidence to find probable cause. The first video showed a doorside surveillance camera view of the incident. In the video, Vilchez walks into the convenience store and starts looking at the drinks in the back. Shortly after, Alfaro enters with two companions and buys a pack of cigarettes before approaching Vilchez. The prosecution argued that when Alfaro approached Vilchez he made a gesture to “show his gun” and started the armed combat. The second video shows the same scene from a viewpoint of the back of the store, but in this video, the viewer can see that Alfaro maintained a “mean glare” at Vilchez as soon as he entered the store.

After Alfaro allegedly shows his gun, Vilchez pulled his gun out and fired the first shot. Alfaro and his companions immediately run out of the convenience store, while Vilchez pursues them. The third video shows Alfaro stop outside of the convenience store, load his gun and fire shots at Vilchez who was in the doorway. The defense argued that this act was of self defense because Vilchez was pursuing Alfaro. According to Alfaro’s attorneys, Alfaro was not the “first aggressor” and even if he was, his running away was his sign of ending the dispute. Judge Zoe Bush mentioned that it “takes more than just running” to signal one’s submission in a dispute.

Detective Gabriel Truby testified in court and revealed that the two appear to police to be in the same street gang. He also mentioned that there had been no prior conflicts between the two before the incident. Judge Bush denied the argument that Alfaro’s act was self defense due to the way he had looked at Vilchez in the convenience store and his other actions in the videos. She ruled that he be held without bail due to his criminal past and because he had committed this murder while he was on supervised release for another case.

Vilchez is currently being charged with second-degree murder while armed and is set for a felony status conference on April 6, 2018.


Comment guidelines:

D.C. Witness is a place where we want our community to come to remember loved ones and comment on homicide cases. These discussions often entail topics that we all personally care a lot about and will passionately discuss. But in order for discussions to thrive here, we need to set a few ground rules. Comments will be edited or deleted if they include vulgarity, name-calling, cursing or inflammatory language. Comments that include unverified information, slander, or hateful speech will be deleted. We reserve the right to edit comments to ensure they reflect the intent of the writer but make them publishable. If you believe your comment has been edited or deleted in error, please contact Jennifer Swift, swift@dcwitness.org