Simon's agent: Witnesses will testify that the Orioles pitcher did not fire fatal shot
The agent for Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon said there are several witnesses in the Dominican Republic who are willing to come forward and testify that the pitcher could not have fired the fatal bullet that killed Simon’s 25-year-old cousin in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day.
Phil Isaac, one of Simon’s two American agents, spent the weekend in the Dominican talking to attorneys and others involved with the case and said he believes Simon was “quite a distance” away from the spot where his cousin, Michael Esteban Castillo Almonte, was killed.
“There are a few witnesses that will come forward that we have spoken to and that the attorneys have spoken to that will testify – if it comes to that – that under no circumstances whatsoever could Alfredo have fired the fatal shot,” said Isaac, who along with his brother, Alex, represents Simon.
That contention differs greatly from what a second victim in the shooting told a Dominican reporter last week. Starlin Castillo Hernandez, the 17-year-old half brother of Castillo Almonte who was shot in the right arm during the same incident, said Simon was not shooting in the air, as the pitcher’s attorneys suggest. Instead, Castillo Hernandez contends Simon was the shooter and it wasn’t an accident.
“If it's like he says, that he was firing into the air, then we must all have been sleeping,” the Dominican newspaper El Nacional reported Castillo Hernandez as saying last week.
However, Isaac said his side has additional information that could help lead to the release of his client, but would not offer specifics.
“We have looked at alternative pieces of evidence and other information pertaining to the situation that strongly favor Alfredo’s case and we expect that to come forward as the proceedings play out,” Isaac said.
Meanwhile, Simon, who was in a detention center for most of last week, has been moved to a prison in Puerto Plata. Isaac said the transfer was made because of overcrowding at the detention center and is not an indication of Simon’s involvement in the incident.
Simon has yet to be charged of a crime, but is considered the chief suspect in the death of Castillo Almonte and the shooting of Castillo Hernandez. He is awaiting the release of a ballistics report which could determine whether the gun that Simon turned over to authorities fired the fatal bullet.
Isaac said the ballistics report is expected to be released Tuesday and he believes it will show the bullet did not come from Simon’s gun. Simon’s Dominican attorney has said a preliminary report backs that theory, but the prosecution in the case has speculated that the 29-year-old Simon may have switched barrels of the gun before giving it to police.
Simon pitched in a career-high 49 games with the Orioles last year and led the team with 17 saves. He was slated for a middle relief role in 2011.
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