The Cuban-born, two-time world champion wrestler, Olympic medalist and MMA fighter known as “The Exorcist” has been implicated in the murder of a Miami businessman who was having an affair with his mentor’s wife, according to police.
He was ordered held without bail on Monday.
Alexis Vila Perdomo, 47, was arrested on April 17 in Miami and charged with conspiracy to commit murder for the June 2011 kidnapping and killing of Camilo Salazar, according to court records and a spokesperson for the Florida Attorney General’s office in Miami, Lorna Salomon.
Manual Marin, a Miami supermarket magnate and Perdomo’s mentor, was the mastermind behind the plot, according to allegations made in an arrest warrant obtained by Oxygen.com. Marin wanted Salazar dead, prosecutors say, because his wife, Jenny, was having a secret affair with him.
Salazar’s body was found on June 1, 2011, in a semi-rural area adjacent to the Everglades west of Miami, with his hands bound behind his back, his throat slit and his groin burned, the warrant says.
Authorities think Perdomo helped arrange the murder, which was allegedly carried out with assistance from Ariel Gandulla, another former MMA fighter, and Roberto Isaac, a fight trainer and promoter, according to the Miami Herald.
A fingerprint belonging to Gandulla was found on Salazar’s SUV, which he was driving the day he disappeared, according to the warrant.
While Isaac has been arrested, Gandulla has not, and is believed to have fled the country, the Miami Herald reported.
After Salazar’s killing, Marin fled to Spain, where he continues to live today, according to the warrant. He is charged with murder, kidnapping and conspiracy, but has yet to be taken into custody.
Perdomo won gold medals in wrestling at world championships in 1993 and 1994, a gold medal at the Pan American Games in 1995, and a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta, before defecting to the United States in 1997 and becoming a wrestling coach.
Marin was “a father figure” to Perdomo, “and the two have known one another from Cuba in 1993,” according to the arrest warrant.
Marin assisted Villa “with coming to the United States from Puerto Rico after defecting there from Cuba,” gave Villa a job “and also helped him open a wrestling studio,” the warrant adds.
But Perdomo’s new life derailed on July 4, 2004, when he crashed his SUV into a Florida airport terminal, according to the Associated Press. Although no one was injured, he plead guilty to a felony and served three years in federal prison for the crime.
It was after his release from prison in 2007, that Perdomo became an MMA fighter. His record stands at 15-7, according to MMA fighting, a sports news website.
The Exorcist’s attorney, Eric Padron, told Oxygen.com that Perdomo had nothing to do with Salazar’s killing because he was in Las Vegas preparing for a fight when it happened.
“He’s always said, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong. I would never participate in a murder.’ He was in Las Vegas preparing for a fight. He has fully cooperated with police. He never invoked his rights.”
Still, prosecutor Gail Levine told a Miami court on Monday that phone records show a number of telephone calls between Marin and Perdomo in the days leading up to Salazar’s killing, as well as a total of 26 calls between Perdomo and the other three accused men on the day of Salazar’s murder, according to the Miami Herald’s report.
During a preliminary hearing in the case against Perdomo, a police detective testified that he confronted him about the calls, but that Perdomo couldn’t “specifically explain them.”
Perdomo also told the detective something else, the Miami Herald reports.
“He threatened to kick my ass,” the detective said.
[Photo: Miami-Dade County Sheriff's Office]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.