Man gets 10 years for bar murder

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By David Giuliani

A man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing another man at a bar in 2007.

Michael Esquibel, 28, of San Juan Pueblo, N.M., was originally charged with an open count of murder in the death of Manuel Ramirez Rodriguez, a Mexican citizen, on Oct. 7, 2007, at Artie’s Place, a bar at the Inn of Las Vegas.

However, as part of a plea agreement, Esquibel pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, according to the district attorney’s office.

After he is released from prison, Esquibel will be on probation for four years and parole for two years, the DA’s office said.

Rodriguez had been in Las Vegas for a few weeks as part of a roofing crew for the Las Vegas City Schools. On the night of the murder, Esquibel was thrown out of the bar because of an argument with another customer over a woman, officials said.

Hours later, he returned to the bar to run down Rodriguez and another roofer, Javiel Puerto, with his car, according to a press release from the DA’s office.

Esquibel at first claimed that the two men were coming toward him in a threatening manner, but the evidence showed that the victims were not and that they weren’t even a part of the argument in the bar, the release states. After the incident, Esquibel fled to Albuquerque.

After finding Esquibel, Las Vegas police detectives questioned the suspect and he told them that 20 Mexicans were coming at him throwing bottles, rocks and sticks — none of which could be substantiated, the DA’s office said.

At the time of the incident, Esquibel was on probation in another felony case, including charges of child abuse, shooting from a motor vehicle and tampering with evidence, the press release states. That probation was revoked and he was sentenced to prison in that case as well.

“This is such a tragedy. By all accounts, Mr. Rodriguez had no part in the prior argument, and he was simply minding his own business when Esquibel struck him without any reason or justification,” District Attorney Richard Flores said in a statement.

The state was represented by Tom Clayton and Donald Sears, while Esquibel was represented by Mark Earnest of the state Capital Crimes Unit. Las Vegas police detective John Trujillo was the lead investigator.