February 13, 2009

Two US sailors charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault in Tijuana

By Mariana Martínez

Two women making a frantic call to the police in the middle of the night; a hotel; a confrontation. Two men arrested with two bloody knives. Fresh blood stains all over the wall, and after it all ends, just an overwhelming smell of fear lurking in the air.

That is the scene where to US sailors where arrested on February 4th.

According to the police report, the men were arrested in the 732 hotel in the red light district, after they attacked two women and a hotel employee with knives.

The women, —sisters and sex workers—, said both men came in asking for service, and when one of them went into a room with one of the sisters, he became enraged and attacked her with a knife.

The woman, identified only as Belen is a mother of 5 kids, who received a series of stab wounds in her chest. A 62 year-old hotel employee tried to stop the attack but was stabbed in the back.

Both where hospitalized and expected to recover.

“The boys looked totally normal; young, clean, not drugged or drunk,” said Belen’s sister, who was not hurt during the attack.

The men are active duty sailors, Joshua Dockery and Jarrett Monzingo, 27 and 22 years-old respectively.

They were initially detained at the police station on Eight street and moved to the Tijuana Penitentiary on Saturday, after being formally charged in court with attempted murder and aggravated assault.

But now, the state prosecutors’ office has just linked them to another case and has charged them with murder in the first degree.

According to the formal complaint, Dockery and Monzingo are now accused in the death of Mayte Victoria Delgado, a 19 year old prostitute found asphyxiated to death in a hotel room.

The investigators claim both men had been to Tijuana before, many times in fact, to visit the red light district, called “La Coahuila” where prostitution is open and tolerated.

They visited on January 17th and went to Lafayette Hotel, a known prostitution joint in Revolution street, between third and forth street, downtown.

There, Dockery and Monzingo, entered the hotel and asked for service. Dockery went into room number 5 with Delgado. The woman was later found dead; her body hidden under the bed.

The cause of dead has been established by strangulation.

Witnesses claim Dockery did it.

Lafayette hotel workers claim the hotel’s security camera service has the image of Dockery on the date of the murder, and that he was even wearing the same black shirt on January 17th and the day of his arrest.

Navy officials said in a statement they are well aware of the problems these sailors face, they are in contact with the US consulate and have hired legal council for them.

They will be monitoring their conditions and helping them while they remain in the Mexican prison.

Since 2003, there is an explicit prohibition for service men and women to cross the border into Mexico, specially to visit border towns like Tijuana. The order states such visits can only be done after getting written authorization.

If granted, they have to clearly state the places they plan to visit, as well as the length of the trip.

This prohibition has been criticized by Jorge Ramos, the Tijuana mayor as well as businessmen, who see it as a disincentive for Americans to visit Mexico.

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