MIAMI — More than a decade after the body of his wife’s lover was found tortured and disfigured and after seven years on the lam in Europe, former Presidente Supermarket magnate Manuel Marin was found guilty of planning and the brutal crime.
But the jury did not find Marin guilty of second-degree murder, instead convicting him of the lesser charge of manslaughter. But, after a two-week trial, jurors also found him guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and kidnapping. The charges will likely send the wealthy 69-year-old to prison for the rest of his life.
The verdict came several years after three men accused of being recruited by Marin were imprisoned for crimes associated with the death of Camilo Salazar, an interior blinds installer who had an on-again, off-again affair with Marin’s wife Jenny Marin for almost 11 years.
Despite never physically placing Marin at the murder scene and no witness accounts of any type of agreement to kill Salazar, jurors believed a story developed by state prosecutors Justin Funck and Jonathan Borst that was largely based on cellphone tower tracking and testimony from a man who spent three years in prison for the admitted kidnapping Salazar the day he was killed.
According to the two Miami-Dade assistant state attorneys, Marin recruited a former Cuban Olympic wrestler named Alexis Vila Perdomo, Mixed Martial Arts fighter Ariel “The Panther” Gandulla and Latin Kings gang member Roberto Isaac to help him kill Salazar.
They said that on the day Salazar was murdered, Perdomo organized the events on his cellphone from Las Vegas, while Isaac and Gandulla corner an unsuspecting Salazar in Coconut Grove near his wife’s office, detained him in plastic handcuffs and stuck him in the backseat of a rented pickup truck. Then, they drove to Isaac’s Wynwood home, before dragging Salazar inside for several hours, his feet also bound when they returned him to the truck.
From there — and after finally contacting Marin, who had been on a trip on his yacht with his family to Bimini by cellphone — they drove Salazar to an Fort Lauderdale office park where they met Marin, who with Isaac transferred the victim into the hatchback of Marin’s blue Mercedes. As Salazar was being moved, Gandulla, they said, took off and went back to his Kendall apartment in the pickup.
Using Sunpass coordinates and cellphone tower tracking, prosecutors said Marin and Isaac drove Salazar to a West Miami-Dade field on the edge of the Everglades, where they bashed in his head, broke his jaw, slit his throat and set the lower extremities of his body on fire with gasoline.
Gandulla, who fled with his family to Vancouver, Canada a year after the murder and not long after Miami-Dade detectives visited him at his sister’s home in Orlando, testified for the prosecution after agreeing to a three-year prison sentence for kidnapping. Perdomo and Isaac were found guilty of the murder in 2019. Perdomo is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence. Isaac is serving life.
Marin, who owned several supermarkets in South Florida and New Jersey, gave up a luxurious lifestyle with his decision to flee South Florida just a few days after Salazar was murdered.
Along with his Lighthouse Point mansion and yacht docked out back, he turned over the keys to his business empire to a son he had with his first wife, prosecutors said. The son, who was also given power of attorney, worked out a divorce agreement with Jenny Marin for his father in which she got to keep the Lighthouse Point home and collected $30,000 a month in child support and alimony for three years.