OAKLAND -- A woman whose dead burning body was found near an offramp on Highway 24 in Rockridge last year is suspected of being killed by her boyfriend and a drug dealer after refusing to identify a person who robbed the drug dealer, a witness said in court Wednesday.
Monica Rodas-Alfaro, 21, was having a good time at a party in East Oakland when her boyfriend Salavador Valasco, 23, and Hector Garcia, 32, arrived, at first distributing methamphetamine to the group but eventually tying up Rodas-Alfaro and demanding answers, Pablo Ahumada, her good friend and initial suspect in the case said.
Ahumada, 31, said the party was going well when Valasco and Garcia initially arrived, but after he left the room to go to the bathroom, an argument erupted.
"I heard a lot of stuff, I heard (someone) saying stop, I heard a lot of commotion," Ahumada said. "That's when I went inside, and I was stunned."
Upon returning to the house, which was a converted garage at 3131 Nicol Avenue, Ahumada said he saw Rodas-Alfaro sitting on a couch and Valasco standing over her "talking smack."
At about the same time, he said, he looked at Garcia who raised his shirt and showed off two handguns that were sticking out of his pants.
"Hector looks at me, grabs his guns and said, 'What's he going to do,'" Ahumada said.
Ahumada said he wasn't quite sure what the argument was about until a third man walked in laughing and told Rodas-Alfaro to just
Ahumada said Rodas-Alfaro didn't say anything at which point Valasco grabbed some saran wrap and bound her hands together behind her back. Valasco then grabbed a sweater and tied it around Rodas-Alfaro's head so she could not see, the witness said. Seconds later, Ahumada said, Valasco helped Rodas-Alfaro get up from the couch and then followed her out of the room with Garcia leading the way.
It was the last time Ahumada ever saw Rodas-Alfaro.
Rodas-Alfaro's body was found at about 5:30 a.m. July 14, 2011 in the 5700 block of Ivanhoe Road near Highway 24 after a resident called police saying they saw a burning body in the street. An autopsy revealed that Rodas-Alfaro was killed by blunt force trauma to the head, skull and brain and had been set afire after she was killed.
Valasco and Garcia were arrested about five days later, just two days after they initially escaped arrest during two separate car chases.
At the time, police said both men were suspected gang members and that after questioning, Valasco admitted helping Garcia kill Rodas-Alfaro. Garcia denied any involvement in the crime, police have said.
Ahumada testified Wednesday during a preliminary hearing against the two suspects who have been charged with a special circumstances murder and who could both face the death penalty if convicted.
The preliminary hearing will continue this week after which a judge will decide if a prosecutor has presented enough evidence to place the suspects before a jury for trial.