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| Crime |

Alfred Flores's chewing gum leads to bust for head-shot murder of Manuel Martinez

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In our post about the 47 homicides in Denver last year, we were unable to include a Google map showing where Manuel Martinez, 27, died last November, because the report from the Denver coroner's office didn't list a location. But now, we know much more about his head-shot slaying and the man thought to have pulled the trigger: Alfred Flores, forty, who was charged nearly a year later due partly to a wad of chewing gum.

According to the arrest affidavit for Flores, on view below in its entirety, police were called to a parking lot of Grant Frontier Park, at 2200 South Platte River Drive, at about 7 a.m. on November 27. There, they found a man later identified as Martinez. He was lying face down in a pool of blood with what proved to be a gunshot sound to his head. Also nearby was a piece of gum, which was taken into evidence for testing at the Denver Police Department crime lab.

Shortly thereafter, investigators chatted with Martinez's mom, who said her son and his girlfriend, Felicia Casillas, had been drinking at her home on the evening of November 26 before heading to the home they shared.

Casillas subsequently revealed that Martinez had later gotten a call from a woman he knew, Yolanda Arze-Beltran, who said it was her birthday and she wanted to meet for a drink. Casillas didn't like that idea much, in part because she knew Martinez had supplied Arze-Beltran with methamphetamine, for which she allegedly owed him $10,000. But he left anyhow -- and never returned.

Before long, police tracked down Arze-Beltran, who told officers she'd rendezvoused with Martinez at Brewski's, a bar on 104th Avenue, in the company of two other people -- Clarence Sims and Alfred Flores, nicknamed Parrot or Perrico. She claimed the four of them hung out at the home of Michael McCruden, a Lakewood resident known as Mechanic Mike, until the early morning hours, when Martinez and Flores left in her red Acura.

What happened to the car? Turns out it had been impounded by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department after being abandoned on Highway 6 following what appeared to be a car fire. Despite the destruction, however, a number of items were found inside, including cell phones and a plastic bag of burnt clothing. They were submitted for DNA testing -- along with that gum.

By the way, the clothing is said to have been consistent with garb worn by Flores, Sims and Arze-Beltran in surveillance footage from Brewski's.

Cut to this past summer, when an individual whose name is blotted out in the file sits for a pair of interviews with detectives. During the sessions, the source contended that Flores killed Martinez.

Why? Another unidentified witness subsequently recounted a story he said had been shared with him by Flores -- a tale that matched the broad outlines of the original source's account even as it provided a motive for the brutal crime.

Continue to read more about the murder of Manuel Martinez, and to see the arrest affidavit. On the evening in question, Flores and Martinez were said to have been playing pool when the latter "started talking smack and bragging" -- which might not have been an insurmountable problem had Martinez not allegedly announced during a drive near Santa Fe and 3rd that "he was fucking Marquise," Flores's girlfriend

At that point, the informant continued, Flores allegedly asked Arze-Beltran for his gun and shot Martinez in the head while the Acura was in the middle of the intersection. Afterward, the narrative maintains that Flores and company changed their clothes and burned what they were wearing along with the car itself.

"That's how they do it in California," Flores allegedly told him.

Yet another source who claims to have spoken with Flores says that after the killing, he took Martinez's money -- $6,000, according to Casillas -- and Arze-Beltran grabbed his drugs before dumping the body off South Platte River Drive.

These witnesses provided authorities with plenty of evidence against Flores. But the lab techs offered one more bit of assistance. Last month, they confirmed that DNA on the gum matched Flores.

Last week, Flores was taken into custody and was held without bond on a single count of first-degree murder. He was scheduled to make his first court appearance this week.

Look below to see a larger version of his booking photo, followed by the aforementioned arrest affidavit.

Alfred Flores Arrest Affidavit

More from our Mile High Murder archive: "47 Denver homicides in 2011: See where they happened."

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