A Galveston man is accused of cutting his roommate’s throat and leaving his body on a Texas City sidewalk in January, police said.
Juan Carlos Ramirez-Vargas, 26, was charged Monday with murder in the death of Pablo Padilla, police said.
Blood-covered dollar bills and clothing and a series of incriminating text messages led police to charge Ramirez-Vargas with the murder, according to a criminal complaint released Tuesday.
Ramirez-Vargas previously had been arrested and charged with evidence tampering in connection to Padilla’s death. He has been in custody since January.
Padilla’s body was found on a sidewalk near a muddy field on 6th Street in Texas City at 7:15 a.m. on Jan. 14, according to the Texas City Police Department. He was found lying on the ground with a large wound to his neck, according to the police complaint.
According to the complaint, police identified Padilla by his fingerprints. Public records led them to an address on 52nd Street in Galveston, where he and several other people, including Ramirez-Vargas, rented rooms, according to the complaint.
Ramirez-Vargas was at the apartment when officers arrived to look for evidence, according to police. He told the officers he and Padilla had gone to two bars in Galveston the night before, police said.
Ramirez-Vargas was arrested after police reviewed security camera recordings from the bars and found his description of the night didn’t match what was on video, according to the complaint.
In interviews with police, Ramirez-Vargas denied he and Padilla had left a bar together, according to the complaint. Ramirez-Vargas told one detective he left the bar after Padilla made sexual advances toward him, according the report.
The security video showed the men leaving the bar together, according to the complaint.
After arresting Ramirez-Vargas, officers also found boots and pants hidden in his apartment that appeared to be covered in mud and blood, according to police. They also found blood-covered money in his wallet, according to the complaint.
A DNA test returned to police in April identified blood on a dollar bill and on a boot as Padilla’s, according to the complaint.
When police searched Ramirez-Vargas’ cell phone, they found texts to an unnamed woman in which Ramirez-Vargas said he had “killed someone” and feared going to prison, according to the complaint
Ramirez-Vargas was in custody at the Galveston County Jail on Tuesday afternoon, held on $375,000 bond, according to jail records.
Ramirez-Vargas has been placed on an immigration detainer, according to the records. The hold means that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had flagged Ramirez-Vargas as a person who might be in the country illegally.
Ramirez-Vargas is from Mexico, according to the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office.
Once the charges against Ramirez-Vargas are resolved and he is eligible to be released from jail, immigration authorities have 48 hours to take him into federal custody for possible deportation proceedings, officials said.
Ramirez-Vargas’ next scheduled court date is June 11, according to court records.