Man Extradited from El Salvador to Face 1995 Murder Charge
Defendant Fled Country After Being Released on Bond Soon After Shooting
WASHINGTON – Raul Rodriguez, also known as Ricardo Vidaurre Chicas, 45, has been extradited from El Salvador on a charge of first-degree murder while armed (premeditated) for allegedly killing a man in a drive-by shooting in May 1995 in Southeast Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and Michael Hughes, U.S. Marshal for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
Rodriguez, aka Chicas, is accused of killing Charles Wilkins, a 31-year-old accountant with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, in the early morning hours of Saturday, May 27, 1995. He was arrested within minutes of the shooting and made his first appearance on May 29, 1995, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. However, he was released a week later after posting a $5,000 cash or surety bond set by the judge and he then failed to appear for a court hearing that had been set for June 8, 1995. At the time of his arrest in 1995, Rodriguez, aka Chicas, had been residing in Alexandria, Va.
The defendant, a Salvadoran citizen, subsequently moved to El Salvador, where he was found by law enforcement in 2015 working as a teacher. Rodriguez, aka Chicas, was arrested in November 2016 in El Salvador on the United States extradition request and extradited to the United States on July 13, 2018, at which time he was arraigned in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He was ordered held without bond by the Honorable Judge Danya A. Dayson pending further court proceedings, including a status hearing set for Sept. 7, 2018.
According to the government’s evidence, Rodriguez, aka Chicas, shot Mr. Wilkins multiple times. Mr. Wilkins had been at a nightclub celebrating his brother’s birthday. Rodriguez, aka Chicas, allegedly shot him from inside a vehicle as Mr. Wilkins walked to his car in the 100 block of M Street SE. An eyewitness immediately relayed information to the Metropolitan Police Department. Police pursued the vehicle and apprehended its occupants, including the defendant, within five minutes of the shooting. Police also recovered the gun used in the shooting, which had been thrown out of the vehicle during the police pursuit.
According to the evidence, the defendant was determined to be a member of the Vatos Locos gang. Mr. Wilkins had no gang affiliations and no known ties to the defendant.
Rodriguez, aka Chicas, was initially indicted in July 1996 on the murder and related weapons charges. A grand jury returned a superseding indictment in February 2016, adding a charge of violating the Bail Reform Act, stemming from his failure to appear in court.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department, and the defendant’s whereabouts were investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Department of State provided substantial assistance in securing extradition.
Assistance has been provided by the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, the U.S. Marshals Service International Investigations Branch, the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, FBI (Central Americas Division) and the Salvadoran National Police.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Macey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, with assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Rakoczy and Victim/Witness Advocate Jennifer Clark.