The 2900 block of South Emerald Drive was the scene of an alleged murder Sunday night that claimed the life of Ralph Pichardo. William Anthony Otero appeared in court Monday on a charge of first-degree murder. (Bethany Freudenthal Photo)
A Roswell man charged with fatally shooting another man on Sunday appeared in magistrate court Monday for his first appearance before a judge.
During court Monday, William Anthony Otero, 31, maintained his innocence, stating his family is the true victim. Otero asked the judge for a reduced bond, which was denied.
According to a news release from the Roswell Police Department, officers were dispatched to the 2900 block of South Emerald Drive Sunday just before 8 p.m. after receiving several calls of multiple shots fired.
Upon arrival, police and emergency medical personnel reported finding the victim, Ralph [auth] Pichardo, 34, lying in South Emerald Drive deceased. Officers later detained Otero and charged him with first-degree murder.
The criminal complaint states a witness to the alleged first-degree murder said she and Pichardo were going to his sister’s house on South Emerald Drive Sunday afternoon to pick up a dog when they saw Otero and his girlfriend, (who is Pichardo’s ex-wife), at a house on the street.
Pichardo’s sister, according to the witness, wasn’t home, so they decided to leave and come back later. When they came back later to get the dog, they saw Otero and Pichardo’s ex-wife and decided to stop at the house, where a man, not Otero, allegedly wanted to fight Pichardo and took off his shirt.
Otero and the other man, according to the complaint, started to fight and during the fight, a black firearm fell onto the ground.
It was then, according to the complaint, that the witness said she heard Otero tell someone to get the gun. And once Otero had the gun, according to the complaint, he began to shoot at Pichardo, who “went down.”
The witness, according to the complaint, fearing for her life, grabbed the gun from Pichardo’s waistband and shot the gun “until it was empty.” She then, according to the complaint, got back into Pichardo’s truck, drove it to his sister’s house where she left the engine running and lights on and ran back to Pichardo to hold him, even though she knew he was dead.
A neighbor told police he heard 10 to 15 gunshots fired during the altercation, according to the criminal complaint.
Otero, according to the complaint, has threatened Pichardo in the past over Pichardo’s ex-wife while Pichardo was in jail. But Pichardo’s ex-wife stated to police Sunday she was still married to him, in the process of divorcing him, and was currently with Otero.
Standing before a judge Monday via teleconference in magistrate court, Otero was read his rights and charged with first-degree murder, a capital crime with the maximum penalty of life in prison without parole and a monetary fine.
Pleading with the judge, Otero said his family is the true victim.
“My family is the victim of this case,” Otero said, “I ask for (a) reasonable bond in this case. I did not do any of this.”
Bond was set at $250,000 cash only.
Staff writer Bethany Freudenthal may be contacted at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or firstname.lastname@example.org