The Riverside man charged with raping and strangling an Aquebogue woman earlier this month admitted he “hurt a girl” to acquaintances the morning after the killing, and later shaved his ponytail and hair to disguise his appearance, prosecutors said Friday morning.
Guillermo Alvarado-Ajcuc, 21, originally of Guatemala, was arraigned on two second-degree murder charges at Suffolk County Criminal Court.
The first charge was for murder while committing a felony, in this case a rape, said Suffolk County assistant district attorney Glenn Kurtzrock. The second charge is for the murder itself.
Mr. Alvarado-Ajcuc was wearing a green jumpsuit when he appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to both charges as members of the victim’s family quietly cried nearby; it was the first time they had laid eyes on the man accused of killing their beloved Marian Yohana Garcia Mancilla, 29.
Both charges carry sentences of 25 years to life.
Prosecutors said Mr. Alvarado-Ajcuc, described as an illegal immigrant, followed Ms. Garcia out of the Sabor Latino restaurant on Route 58 in the early morning hours of May 6.
The defendant allegedly took the victim to the parking lot, where he forcibly removed her clothing and raped her. When she resisted, Mr. Alvarado-Ajcuc strangled her with his belt, Mr. Kurtzrock said.
Her body was found the next morning in the parking lot behind the Riverhead DMV, stripped naked from the waist down, Mr. Kurtzrock said.
Mr. Alvarado-Ajcuc and Ms. Garcia were not acquaintances and did not enter the bar together, officials and family members said.
The defendant, better known by his nickname “Chino,” allegedly told “at least one or two individuals” at a local deli about the crime, prosecutors said. When homicide detectives began searching for a suspect, Mr. Alvarado-Ajcuc allegedly shaved off his ponytail in an attempt to evade police.
Mr. Kurtzrock said the Guatemalan community in Riverhead helped detectives locate the defendant, who was arrested May 16 near his father’s home.
Prosecutors said the alleged killer gave a confession to police that was recorded on video and also signed a confession to the crime.
For Ms. Garcia’s family and friends, seeing the man charged with her murder was difficult.
“It’s terrible,” said friend of Ms. Garcia and Flanders resident Angie Godoy. “I can’t believe him. He’s of my country.”
Ms. Godoy, who lived with Ms. Garcia several years ago, said Ms. Garcia was a “nice person.”
“I miss her,” she said shaking her head. “I miss her.”
Ms. Garcia’s sister, Zully, said her faith and friends in the community have helped her family.
“For me, God has helped me,” she said, adding that it has been difficult for her and her mother to deal with the tragedy.
Ms. Garcia was described as a popular disc jockey for local parties, a black belt in karate, and an avid soccer player for a women’s team on the North Fork. The team honored Ms. Garcia at their final game in Mattituck, holding a moment of silence and wearing black ribbons in remembrance of their slain friend.
Mr. Alvarado-Ajcuc was held without bail and his next court date was scheduled for June 19.