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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 28, 2013

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Maryland Man Found Guilty of First-Degree Murder While Armed
In 2010 Killing Inside Downtown Office Building
-Defendant Later Disposed of Body in Frederick County, Md.-

     WASHINGTON - Marvin Palencia, 38, of Hyattsville, Md., was found guilty by a jury today of first-degree murder while armed and other charges stemming from the slaying of a man in a downtown office building, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

     The verdict followed a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. In addition to the murder charge, the jury found Palencia guilty of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, carrying a pistol without a license, and tampering with evidence. The Honorable John Ramsey Johnson scheduled sentencing for Oct. 11, 2013.

     According to the government’s evidence, on Nov. 11, 2010, Palencia shot the victim, Jacobo Vazquez, 36, in the chest and in the back of the head in the laundry room of a ten-story office building in the 100 block of Constitution Avenue NW, where both of the men worked.  Palencia was angry because Mr. Vazquez was in a relationship with the defendant’s wife. Palencia and his wife were separated but he hoped for a reconciliation.

     Prior to the murder, Valencia shared with several people how upset he was with Mr. Vazquez. He also threatened Mr. Vazquez about one week before the murder – telling him that he better not see him at work anymore. Over the course of the next week, Palencia purchased a firearm illegally and verified Mr. Vazquez’s work schedule with his superior.

     The government’s evidence showed that Palencia carefully planned out the timing and location of the murder by using his knowledge of the building and the various employee schedules. After killing Mr. Vazquez, Palencia put the body in a cardboard box, wrapped the box in duct tape, plastic, and a cord, and then dumped the body on the side of the road on Interstate 70 in Frederick County, Md. However, in his haste to wrap the box, he unknowingly attached his work identification card to the box.  Palencia was arrested Nov. 20, 2010 and has been in custody ever since.

     “Thanks to the efforts of law enforcement from the District of Columbia and Maryland and a dedicated prosecution team, Marvin Palencia was brought to justice for this calculated killing of a co-worker inside an office building within blocks of the U.S. Capitol,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “We hope this verdict brings some measure of relief to the family of Mr. Vazquez.”

     In announcing the verdict, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the work of the detectives, officers and evidence technicians who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). He also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the Maryland State Police, the Maryland State Highway Department and the Maryland State Medical Examiner’s Office. He acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case form the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Marian Russell and Kalisha Johnson-Clark; Intern Matt Lamb, and Litigation Technology Specialists Kimberly Smith and Thomas “Ron” Royal. He thanked Assistant U.S Attorney Seth B. Waxman, who investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Miller, who investigated the case and secured the indictment.

     Finally, he commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas Cannon and Kevin Flynn, who prosecuted the case at trial.

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