Attorneys for two men charged in a fatal shooting outside a Pasco dance club have asked that the victim’s body not be released to family until the defense decides if a second autopsy is needed.
Eduardo Angon Del Villar, 19, was killed Aug. 30 during a fight in La Tropicana’s parking lot.
On Tuesday, Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel told a Superior Court judge of his intentions to give Del Villar’s body to his loved ones so they can make arrangements and move on with the grieving process.
“The autopsy has been done by a forensic pathologist and all of the evidence has been collected,” Blasdel said. “So holding the body any longer, the only thing it does is cause undue stress to the family and causes deteriorating.”
But lawyers for Santos Flores-Alcaide, 28, and Enrique Alcaide, 22, said they need time to review police reports, physical evidence and the initial autopsy findings before deciding if further examination of Del Villar’s body is necessary.
Blasdel had notified Franklin County prosecutors and the bicounty Office of Public Defense on Sept. 3 that his office has a new policy regarding the holding of human remains during a death investigation.
The three-page policy notes that law enforcement and the coroner’s office have a legal obligation to store and protect items in evidence and property in custody, but Blasdel also points out that attorneys need to get a court order for him to hold a body once the autopsy is completed.
“Here I need to balance the interest of the family and the defendant’s interest in having counsel have sufficient time to make that determination,” said Judge Alex Ekstrom, who ordered Blasdel to preserve Angon Del Villar’s body in the interim.
Richard A. Smith of Yakima, who is representing Alcaide, requested a Sept. 15 hearing to further address the issue.
Shelley Ajax, Flores-Alcaide’s lawyer, did not want a hearing with the co-defendant next week.
The autopsy showed Del Villar was shot four times in the back and leg. He died at Lourdes Medical Center in Pasco.
Prosecutor Shawn Sant said pathology reports typically take four to six weeks to complete.
But then Blasdel added that parts of an autopsy report are contingent on toxicology results, which often can take eight to 12 weeks for a report from the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab.
“That’s just way too long. That body can deteriorate a lot,” he told the court. “And the second thing I want to point out is I don’t have the facility to hold the body, so that body has been turned over to a funeral home with a hold on it.”
Ekstrom, who presided over Alcaide’s hearing, asked that Sant and Smith work together to reach a resolution in a week.
Judge Robert Swisher, who was on Santos-Alcaide’s matter, made a similar request of the prosecutor and defense.
“All we’re concerned about is that he is making every effort ... to preserve (the body) and maintain it as it came to him,” Smith said.
Flores-Alcaide, of Grandview, is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault and possession of a stolen gun. His bail is set at $1 million.
His nephew, Alcaide, is charged with first-degree murder. The Sunnyside man’s bail is $750,000.
Both men pleaded innocent Tuesday in Franklin County Superior Court and now face tentative Nov. 4 trial dates.
Angon Del Villar, of Pasco, reportedly was outside the West Columbia Street club at 1:30 a.m. when he was confronted by the suspects. A fistfight broke out between the teen and Alcaide, who allegedly told his uncle to get a pistol from their vehicle.
Flores-Alcaide fired several shots at close range at Angon Del Villar, then turned the gun on Francisco Elvira, who was trying to help the victim, court documents said.
The uncle and nephew sped away but were quickly stopped and arrested by Pasco police on Lewis Street.
Investigators found a 9 mm pistol, which had been reported as stolen, outside the club along with multiple shell casings, documents said. Shoeprints at the scene allegedly matched the shoes Flores-Alcaide was wearing at the time of his arrest.
Alcaide claimed that Angon Del Villar had choked him, and that his uncle “had come up and shot the victim during the altercation,” documents said.