Local News

Wife, Brother Of Slaying Victim Among Those Who Face Cockfighting Charges

Posted March 9, 2006

— There are more arrests in an illegal cockfight discovered through a murder investigation. Among them were the victim's wife and brother.

Wilson County deputies arrested seven people from all over eastern North Carolina. All are charged with watching or participating in cockfights. Many were identified from home video of a fight.

Sheriff Wayne Gay said he wants to send a strong message that cockfighting is not tolerated in Wilson or surrounding counties.

"The severity and the cruelty involved in this is inhumane," he said.

Investigators say 26-year-old Alejandro Rico Pineda shot 27-year-old Rosendo Raygoza on Feb. 5.

Among those arrested Thursday were Raygoza's wife, Teresa Saldiva, and his brother, Raul. Investigators say they decided to charge her, in part, because of her lack of cooperation in her husband's homicide investigation.

Authorities said Saldiva and others at the scene did not give up much information at first, giving Pineda time to go home, pack a bag and leave town.

"I feel sorry for her losing her husband, but I don't feel sorry for her participating in this cockfight and delaying the investigation," Gay said.

The magistrate set a $1,500 unsecured bond for each suspect in the case, which meant they were fingerprinted, signed themselves out and allowed to leave.

"Fifteen hundred dollars, I think, is ridiculous for a class I felony that these people are charged with," Gay said. "There is no way we're going to make them understand how serious this is when they can walk in and get out of jail in 30 minutes."

Wilson deputies had warrants out for nine suspects. They arrested eight Thursday morning. Pineda is still on the run. Investigators say he may have headed back to Mexico.

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