Video tracks suspect in elderly couple’s slaying

Murder suspect Armando Colon.
Murder suspect Armando Colon. Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office

Armando Colon insisted he went from his efficiency to the nearby ramshackle Miami apartment where the elderly grandparents of his girlfriend lived simply to get a glass of water.

But when he heard a gurgling sound, Colon told Miami police in a newly released interrogation video, he burst down the door. Inside, he said, Colon saw 86-year-old Rodolfo Pavon, his throat slit, sitting on a sofa, and his wife, Maria Carrillo, in bed with a mortal knife wound to the side of the head.

Colon claimed “me friquié” – a Spanglish way to say he freaked out – and ran away, covering his head with a shirt so neighbors wouldn’t see and blame him.

“I thought I could turn into Capt. Save-A-Guy but I turned into a little bitch,” Colon said in an interview with Miami Sgt. Confesor Gonzalez.

Colon swore he had nothing to do with the vicious double murder this summer. Miami detectives and prosecutors aren’t buying his story.

Investigators believe video surveillance, newly released as evidence in his criminal case, shows him twice going into their apartment building on the 1550 block of North River Drive near the Miami criminal courthouse. Both times he ran off, Colon wore clothing over his head to cover his distinct long copper hair.

Witnesses also saw the man believed to be Colon running from the apartment on the morning of July 16, moments before their bodies were discovered. Also key: one of his Newport cigarettes on the body of Carrillo, a bedridden 68-year-old woman who did not smoke, according to police records.

Colon’s girlfriend also told police that her boyfriend admitted he had “done something stupid” and that her family was going to hate him for it.

The evidence provides new light on the circumstantial case against Colon, who is now in jail awaiting trial on two count of second-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty.

His attorney, Assistant Miami-Dade Public Defender Liesbeth Boots, called the case “a tragedy for the victims, their family, and everyone involved.

“Nevertheless, Mr. Colon has denied committing this crime and has entered a plea of not guilty,” Boots said. “We shall investigate this case and zealously represent our client throughout these proceedings.

What prompted the murder remains a mystery. It was not uncommon for Colon or his girlfriend to visit the grandparents’ tiny apartment. They lived down the street from their efficiency.

Colon, in his interview with Miami homicide detectives the day of the murders, admitted he had a cocaine problem and had taken the drug that morning. The 24-year-old first admitted he walked to the couple’s apartment for water before 8 a.m. They were alive at the time, he claimed.

Video surveillance shows him leaving the scene, with Pavon’s fishing rod in his hand. The rod was later found inside Colon’s home.

Colon claimed he went home, then went back to Pavon’s home a second time – again for a drink of water. He drove his girlfriend’s van back to the apartment. When he noticed the door closed and a gurgling sound, he used his should to break down the door, Colon told Sgt. Gonzalez.

“I’d never seen anything like that in my life,” Colon cried.

The sound of the door breaking drew attention from neighbors, who called police. Pavon was found dead, also with several stab wounds to the chest. Carrillo, who was already in ailing health, was rushed to the hospital, where she died.

The video surveillance shows Colon trying to drive away but the van broke down. He ran off and jumped a fence. Officers found him hours later at a friend’s house.

Colon said he told his girlfriend, Jacqueline Smith, that her grandparents had been killed and she needed to go get the minivan “before I get blamed for something I didn’t do.”

Moments after the bodies were discovered, Miami police officers found Smith at the broken-down minivan trying to get it to start.

When detectives interviewed Smith, she initially claimed Colon never told her about finding the bodies and that he had been home all morning. Smith also claimed she happened to find the van broken down nearby as she walked to the convenience store.

According to police, Smith admitted the next day that she had lied to investigators.