Defendant Pleads Guilty to First Degree Murder
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 13, 2017
On March 13, 2017, In Alexandria Circuit Court, Reinaldo Mauricio Portillo Membreno, a 18-year old resident of Alexandria, Virginia, pleaded guilty to the charge of Murder in the First Degree with regards to the death of Jose Luis Perez Ferman, a 25-year old City resident who was murdered in Beverley Park on November 8, 2015. Portillo Membreno will be sentenced on April 20, 2017. Membreno Portillo was a juvenile at the time of the murder, however, he was indicted and convicted as an adult.
The investigation of the case led to criminal charges against three individuals. Leidi Granados Gutierrez, who was a juvenile at the time of the murder, was convicted as an adult for the felony offense of Concealing and Compounding Murder. On February 11, 2016, she was sentenced to the Department of Juvenile Justice to serve a commitment of indeterminate length.
Alvaro Saenz Castro previously pleaded guilty to first degree murder and will be sentenced on May 25, 2017.
The investigation showed that Saenz Castro instructed Ms. Gutierrez to bring the victim to Beverley Park located in the Beverley Hills neighborhood of the City and known to locals as "the Pit."
Saenz Castro and Membreno Portillo attacked the victim with a machete and a knife, resulting in 26 total wounds. Ferman was nearly decapitated during the attack. Both Saenz Castro and Membreno Portillo admitted to their involvement in the murder. Although the suspects were associates of the criminal street gang MS-13, the actual motive for the crime was Saenz Castro's belief that Ferman was romantically involved with his girlfriend. With Portillo Membreno’s plea today, all defendants associated with this crime have been convicted.
Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Porter said: "This conviction brings to a successful close a complicated investigation into a shocking crime. The residents of the neighborhood in which this offense took place were rightfully shocked to find this level of violence occurring in a children's playground."
"During the pendency of the matter, it was reported that the murder occurred elsewhere and that the victim's body was placed in the park. This is simply erroneous. The forensic evidence and the statements of the defendants make it clear that the murder occurred in the park during the nighttime, and that Mr. Ferman's body was left there for innocent citizens to find in the morning."
"I wish to highly commend the outstanding police work that brought this investigation to a successful conclusion. The Alexandria Police Department's Criminal Investigations Section was instrumental in making this case. The detective's painstaking detective work allowed them to present my office with a very strong case. I would like to publicly commend by name Sergeant Sean Casey for his professional and dedicated service."
Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney David Lord and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Erin Earp prosecuted this matter. The defendant is incarcerated in the Fairfax Adult Detention Center.