Local News

Charge Dismissed Against Flea Market Murder Suspect

Posted January 7, 2008

— Prosecutors dismissed a murder charge Monday against a man accused of shooting to death a Raleigh flea market vendor last year.

Miguel Angel Rivera Goytortua, 22, was released after being detained for the March 25, 2007, shooting death of Pablo Abmriz Ponce at his booth at Watson's Flea market.

"We were prepared for trial this morning," Wake County Assistant District Attorney Adam Moyers said. "There were two necessary witnesses that, despite diligent effort by law enforcement, we were unable to locate in order to call as witnesses in this trial."

Moyers said the case is still open and that Goytortua, who was also a flea market vendor, could be charged again.

"We don't give up," Moyers said. "If we should find these witnesses in the future, then this case will be re-evaluated at that time."

Goytortua's defense attorney, Johnny Gaskins, said evidence shows someone else committed the crime, not his client.

"The police just got overzealous and charged somebody, because they felt like they needed to charge somebody."

Investigators have not offered a motive for the crime.

Ponce, 43, was a married father of six, a fruit and vegetable vendor, and a local Latino music promoter.

Watson's, on Rock Quarry Road, has long been a problem site for police. At the time of Ponce's death, police had been called to the area nearly 400 times during a 15-month period.

The homicide sparked conversation from city leaders about safety in the area.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • clintoflannagan Jan 7, 2008

    "I'm saying if the cops think you, me or anybody else would leave town, we could be held in order to testify."

    Not sure where you are getting that but there's no way the cops can incarcerate an innocent witness to a crime whether they think the witness is leaving town or not.

  • imrickjamesbitch Jan 7, 2008

    Bluewater: That's great and I am sure you got a really good deal. But maybe the part you are missing is the money they make doesn't go back into OUR economy. They don't pay taxes either. So you might have gotten a good deal, but the next time you are screaming about taxes going up, well it's because whoever did work on your house doesn't support America and neither do you by allowing them to do the work instead of citizens born here. Your taxes go up because we are giving it all away to illegals.

  • NCGal Jan 7, 2008

    Thanks, floyd_lawson.

    So much for a speedy trial.

  • bluewater Jan 7, 2008

    Since ths story is gong the usual anti-Mexican routine I'll add my two-cents. My house was built in Apex in '97 by some "latins" on part of the job; when I came by some shoulder length dark haired guys were workiing on the framing on a Sunday aftenoon. Great house, not a crack in any of the hardwoods, solid house. And now I moving on and in the last 6-mos had several jobs at the house. The "Mexicans" showed up within a couple of days of calling, did a great job. Recommended them to a neighbor for painting. Same result. Called Sears and a local window jobber. A couple of weeks wait on one. On another didn't order all the right parts. I'll stick with the Hispanics or do it myself. Your experiences may differ, but try a test. Cheers.

  • blackdog Jan 7, 2008

    ...many did not immigrate...they broke in.

  • unclady Jan 7, 2008

    Would he have been let off so easily if the victim was white? NOT ! Let's say the two witnesses are found (yeah, right)...do you really think HE will be found? He will just go back to where he is from, pay for more fake ID and be back in this country within 6 months. Let's see here...free health care, free medicine, low cost housing, food stamps, free education for their children...Hell I would be back here too! in a heart beat!

  • parr4246 Jan 7, 2008

    ......... bet he's already back in Mexico and awaiting his "new identity" so he can return asap!!!!!

  • mvnull Jan 7, 2008

    "Held as material witnesses? Are you suggesting that if I witness a murder the cops should lock me up?"

    The US does hold people as 'material witnesses' under 18 U.S.C. § 3144, some for several years. People held as material witnesses do not have the same right as people charged with crimes -- something the Bush administration has used quite liberally.

  • rushbot Jan 7, 2008

    Is not immigration a wonderful thing? Many new residents to our area have made great contributions to our community. We should allow more immigrants to our area, not less!

  • ghimmy47 Jan 7, 2008

    If "diligent efforts" are anything like in Fayetteville the witnesses are living at home in Wake County and going on with normal life.