Jan 4, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT
Alfredo Simon, relief pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, has gotten his New Year off to an exceptionally poor start. Simon turned himself over to authorities in the Dominican Republic yesterday after being suspected of the murder–later downgraded to involuntary manslaughter–of 25-year-old Michael Castillo Almonte, his cousin. According to Simon’s lawyer, the pitcher was firing celebratory shots into the air on New Year’s Eve–apparently not uncommon in Dominican Republic culture, where people are killed or injured every year amidst such revelry–and that the shots killed Almonte, and injured Simon’s younger brother as well.
Public prosecutor Victor Mueses is not entirely convinced that Simon’s version was the whole story. “The version that we have is that there was a dispute between two women and he tried to dissolve it, fired a shot that ended up wounding a young person in the arm and that same bullet lodged in the chest of the deceased,” Mueses said of the chain of events leading to Almonte’s death.
Simon went 4-2 with a 4.93 ERA and 17 saves for the AL East cellar dwellers in the 2010 season, before going down with a hamstring injury and being supplanted in his closer role by Koji Uehara. If convincted, Simon could face up to two years in prison.
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