Angel Villalona, the Giants prospect accused of fatally shooting a man in his native Dominican Republic, is out on bail and out 2 million pesos, too, having reportedly paid the victim's family to drop charges against him. That's $55,000.
Prosecutors have vowed to proceed anyway. The San Francisco Chronicle explains:
Villalona, 19 - who three years ago became the most expensive minor-leaguer ever signed by the Giants, at $2.1 million - still faces a charge that he shot a man to death in September in a wild bar fight in his hometown of La Romana, Dominican Republic. But the no-bail hold he had been under was relaxed because the family and prosecutor have not been able to pin a motive for the shooting on Villalona, Cedano [Jose Arturo Cevallos Cedano, Villalona's lawyer] said.
"Angel was just there with a friend," Cedano said. "There was no evidence that he did the shooting."
Prosecutor Jose Antonio Polanco, however, told The Chronicle the only thing that has changed in the case is that the victim's family signed a waiver saying it will not file civil charges against Villalona.
"We are continuing the prosecution," he said. "The agreement is only on civil charges, not criminal."
The Chronicle, incidentally, puts the figure at 5 million pesos, which is closer to $140,000. Diario Libre says 2 million. With the family bought off, it's not clear how much of a case prosecutors will have left if this ever comes to trial. Nor is it clear how the Giants will handle Villalona in the seemingly likely event that he's exonerated. Fellow Giants farmhand Garrett Broshuis isn't too comfortable with the situation:
I wanted to believe my teammate was innocent. I wanted something to come forward to exonerate him. I wanted to see him walk out of prison a free man. But not like this. This just smells like rotten sushi, and nobody likes rotten sushi.
Unseemly though it may be, a payoff like this one is fairly common. It's happened with another ballplayer, in fact. Perhaps you recall the precedent established in Juan Uribe v. Two Dudes Who Got Way Too Close to Juan Uribe's Jeep?
Giants' prospect makes bail [San Francisco Chronicle]
Libertan a Villalona tras compensar madre joven muerto con RD$2.0 millones [Diario Libre]
Villalona: paying off a family? [Life in the Minors]