Local News

Charge Dismissed Against Flea Market Murder Suspect

Posted January 7, 2008 1:09 p.m. EST
Updated January 7, 2008 5:21 p.m. EST

— 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.