Judge: Man Facing Murder Charge and Possible Deportation ‘Has Nothing to Lose’
Rockville man is accused of murdering his coworker in Wheaton
A District Court judge denied bail to a Rockville man accused of murdering a coworker, saying he posed a danger to the community and was a flight risk because of his immigration status.
“He has nothing to lose given he faces final deportation,” Judge Margaret Schweitzer said in Montgomery County District Court in Rockville Monday.
Elmer Campos-Martinez, 47, is facing charges of second-degree murder for the killing of Dania Mendez de Guerra, 21, of Wheaton, who was his coworker at a KFC on University Boulevard West. Campos-Martinez was allegedly in a relationship with de Guerra, who was married and had a 4-year-old child, authorities said.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Matthew Bourke, who was not at Monday’s bail hearing, confirmed in an email that the federal agency lodged an immigration detainer against Campos-Martinez.
In 1994, a judge issued a final removal order for Campos-Martinez, a citizen of El Salvador, and he was removed that year, Bourke wrote in the email. Campos-Martinez illegally reentered the U.S. at an unknown date and place in the years since.
In court, Assistant State’s Attorney Rebecca MacVittie asked Schweitzer to deny bail for Campos Martinez because of the seriousness of the crime and the fact that she was “concerned we wouldn’t be able to get him back here” for trial if he were taken into ICE custody.
On Nov. 6, de Guerra’s husband reported her missing after she hadn’t returned from work the previous night. She had “never failed to return home from work before,” police wrote in court documents.
On Friday afternoon, her body was found in the back of a shopping center at 2321 University Blvd. West in Wheaton, about a block from where she worked. Her body was behind a dumpster and partially obscured by trash, according to court documents.
Police found defensive wounds on her hands and trauma to her head and face, They also noted that her purse and cellphone were missing.
The office of the chief medical examiner in Baltimore determined her cause of death to be multiple blunt-force trauma and asphyxia.
Detectives interviewed Campos-Martinez that day, and he allegedly admitted both to being in a relationship with de Guerra and killing her.
Campos-Martinez told police he got off work at 11:45 p.m. Nov. 5 and waited nearby until de Guerra got off at 12:30 a.m. In court documents, detectives say he told them de Guerra was “upset with him and wanted to break up.”
Their argument escalated. Campos-Martinez admitted he punched her three times and pushed her to the ground, where she hit her head, according to documents.
When de Guerra appeared unresponsive, Campos-Martinez took her purse and phone and called a taxi, according to the documents. He then threw her purse and phone in a dumpster.
A public defender representing Campos-Martinez did not comment on the allegations, but said Campos-Martinez had worked for the same construction for four years in Rosslyn, as well as another company for six years in the DMV area.
Campos-Martinez appeared via a video feed from the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Boyds. He listened to the proceedings through a translator, but did not make any statements.
Campos-Martinez faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Dec. 1. In District Court.