Pasco bouncer killed day before birthday

Kristin M. Kraemer, Herald staff writerFebruary 9, 2010 

On a day when Froilan Godines should have been celebrating his 42nd birthday, loved ones were busy making his funeral arrangements as they struggled to understand just what happened outside a Pasco bar early Sunday.

Godines, a bouncer at El Patron Night Club, was fatally stabbed an hour after he confronted a customer about stolen alcohol. He reportedly was attacked as he walked to his car.

Isabel Montes fought through her tears Monday as she described her father as "a wonderful person" and "a great man" who was always willing to help those in need.

Godines, 41, had lived in the Tri-Cities for 13 years and was married to Guadalupe Ortuno. He had seven children between the ages of 6 and 23.

A married adult daughter had not yet told Godines that he was going to be a grandfather.

"We're all very honored to have him as a dad, very honored," said Montes, 20. "We loved him so much."

Adan Virgen-Ponce, 28, and Concepcion S. Virgen, 20, both of Pasco, have been named as suspects in Godines' death.

They were charged Monday in Franklin County District Court with second-degree murder. Arrest warrants were issued for $1 million each.

Initial reports were that the men were cousins but prosecutors now say that Virgen-Ponce is the uncle of Virgen.

It is unclear just how long Godines had been working at El Patron, but Montes said the bar's owner told her they were very pleased with his work as a security guard.

According to witness reports and court documents, Virgen-Ponce and his girlfriend were leaving the nightclub about 1 a.m. Sunday when Godines checked to make sure they weren't carrying any beer or other alcoholic drinks out of the bar.

Witnesses told police that Virgen-Ponce became upset and a fist fight ensued between him and Godines on the sidewalk in front of the 1107 W. Lewis St. bar. The fight was broken up and Virgen-Ponce left.

"The El Patron owner reported seeing Adan during the first incident, point his finger at the victim and state something to the effect 'I will return' or 'I will see you again,' " Pasco Detective Justin Greenhalgh wrote in court documents.

Virgen-Ponce then allegedly went to his West Jay Street home and woke up his nephew, "saying he wanted him to come with him on an errand," Greenhalgh wrote.

A witness told officers the two men never returned home. The witness reported that when Virgen-Ponce left the house, he was wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans and had "very short hair, almost shaved off, and he was muscular and had broad shoulders."

Back at El Patron, Godines helped close up the bar and headed out to his car, which was parked in the Pasco School District's parking lot next to the nightclub.

He had reportedly escorted two female employees to their vehicles. Those women told police that through their car windows they saw "the silhouettes of two males attack the victim."

The women couldn't see the faces of the two suspects, but said one man held Godines while the other stabbed him with a knife, court documents said. The assailant was said to be wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans, with a shaved head, and was tall with broad shoulders, documents said.

One of the women got out of her car to help Godines and heard the attackers say, "Vamanos ya, dejarlo," or "Let's go now, leave him," documents said. She reportedly saw the men leave in a white, four-door car.

A witness then ran back to the bar and pounded on the glass windows, telling workers still inside to call 911.

Officers found Godines at 2:18 a.m. lying in the alley. He had been stabbed multiple times.

Godines was taken to Lourdes Medical Center in Pasco and died a short time later.

While collecting evidence at the crime scene, police reportedly found a baseball cap and took a picture of it, which they showed to a witness who knows the suspects. The woman recognized the cap and said if it was Virgen's it would have an embroidered signature on the side or back of the cap, court documents.

Police say there is an embroidered signature on the back of the cap.

The men are believed to have fled the scene in a white 1996 Dodge Stratus with Washington license plate 202-SXL.

They were not in custody as of Monday evening, and Capt. Jim Raymond cautions that the suspects may no longer be in that car.

Virgen-Ponce is described as about 5-foot-8, 200 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Virgen is about 5-foot-9, 160 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Pasco Police Department's investigative unit at 545-3484. People also can call their local police department or 911, and the information will be passed on to Pasco, Raymond said.

"We believe someone out there knows where and who they are," Raymond said. "We're hoping someone out there is going to give them up."

He added that there is "absolutely no gang relation" in the crime.

An autopsy of Godines will be performed this week. The Franklin County Coroner's Office was trying Monday to schedule a time with Dr. Daniel Selove, a forensic pathologist from Everett.

Godines was a maintenance mechanic by trade, but family said he was very handy at home, even building an elaborate treehouse in the backyard that towers over the main one-story house.

"He was always helping everybody, always helping neighbors. He never hesitated," Montes said. "... If anybody ever asked for help with anything, he would always be there."

As family gathered at Godines' Kennewick Avenue home on Monday, relatives and friends stopped by to offer condolences. One neighbor hugged the widow as she said, "He was very good to us."

"He was very strong. He was wonderful and everybody has wonderful things to say about him," she said.

Godines loved everything outdoors and would often take his family along to go hunting, fishing and camping.

His children also meant everything to him. He made sure to tuck the younger ones into bed at night, read to them and talk to their teachers so he could be involved in what was happening at school.

Montes said they were very lucky to have Godines in their lives.

Hillcrest Memorial Center of Kennewick is handling arrangements.

Viewing is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Hillcrest, 9353 W. Clearwater Ave. A funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 520 S. Garfield St., Kennewick.

An account has been opened at Hapo Community Credit Union to help the family. Donations can be made to The Godines Family.

Montes said once they get through the initial shock and the preparations, they hope to do something to honor Godines and mark his birthday.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com

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