Last updated: August 15. 2014 7:51PM - 1053 Views
By - jlynott@civitasmedia.com

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WILKES-BARRE — A jury has found Adamis Arias guilty of third-degree murder.

Check back for updates at timesleader.com.


First posted at 1:24 p.m.

Arias says he returned fire in running gunfight that killed Hazleton man

WILKES-BARRE — Accused killer Adamis Arias testified Friday in his own defense, saying he wanted to tell the truth about the night he fatally shot Angel Villalobos in a running gunfight on a Hazleton street last year.

Arias, 22, capped the testimony this morning at the jury trial that began Tuesday in Luzerne County Court.

His attorney Allyson Kacmarski asked him to recall what happened the night of Feb. 23, 2013 in the 500 block of West Maple Street.

He said he was carrying a revolver when he went to buy 2 pounds of marijuana for $7,000 from another man on the block. Arias said Villalobos, 19, showed up and confronted him about hearing comments from others about a debt owed to the defendant.

“He was already holding his gun,” Arias said of Villalobos. “He was clutching it. He pulled it out really fast.”

Arias said it looked like a .380-caliber handgun and it jammed when Villalobos tried to fire.

The two men pulled their weapons from their waistbands at the same time, Arias said. Villalobos’ second shot struck another man, Rafael Santana-Nunez, Arias said.

By then Villalobos turned and ran and continued firing as his back was to Arias, the defendant said.

“I got scared and I shot,” Arias said.

“I didn’t know I hit him,” he said.

Villalobos suffered two gunshot wounds; one in the back and one near his left groin. The shot in the groin was lethal, severing a major artery and causing massive internal bleeding, according to the earlier testimony from Dr. Gary Ross who did the autopsy on Villalobos.

Arias said he and his then girlfriend who was in the car he drove that night to West Maple Street fled to New York City and later returned to Hazleton. He was taken into custody on Feb. 25, 2013 after leaving his aunt’s house and about to get into a car, he said, that was going to drive him to see a lawyer in Forty Fort to defend him in the shooting.

Assistant District Attorney Chester Dudick asked whether Arias went to the street that night to get Villalobos.

“It’s not a fact. I went to buy weed,” he said. Arias added that if he knew Villalobos was going to be there, he would not have gone to the street.

“You’re not going to make me say what you want me to say, because it’s not true,” Arias told Dudick.

Arias said he hid his revolver in his house that was searched by police and they should have found it. The weapon was never recovered.

On the way to New York he threw three shell casings from the revolved out the window along the highway, he said.

Attorneys are scheduled to give their closing arguments when the jury returns this afternoon.

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