EVERETT — Two men who allegedly attacked a stranger at a Motel 6, leading to his death, were charged last week with second-degree murder.
Eric C. Miramontes-Villagrana, 26, of Lynnwood, is accused of stabbing the man in the neck with a knife. Prosecutors say Michael Anthony Dapas, 22, of Everett, also assaulted the man and acted as the getaway driver.
Prosecutors described the homicide as “seemingly senseless and random.”
At an arraignment hearing Tuesday, a judge set Miramontes-Villagrana’s bail to $1 million. Dapas, whose arraignment was last week, had his bail set at $500,000. Both remained in the Snohomish County Jail Wednesday.
The alleged victim, Pablo Ortega-Ortega, was living at the motel at 224 128th St. SW, according to a family member. He worked in construction and left behind three children.
In the early morning of Aug. 23, Ortega-Ortega was at the motel with his girlfriend and two other friends. He was walking to another room to retrieve a cellphone when he saw the two defendants sitting in a van in the parking lot, according to charging papers. They got into an argument. The two men challenged Ortega-Ortega to a fight, then left, prosecutors wrote.
Dapas reportedly told detectives that they drove to a nearby gas station to buy alcohol and food. Later, they made their way back to the motel, parking away from Ortega-Ortega’s room, out of sight of the second-story balcony. Dapas said that they came back to fight Ortega-Ortega, according to court papers.
Ortega-Ortega went outside to smoke a cigarette. A witness reportedly heard yelling and saw Ortega-Ortega and the two men from the van fighting, prosecutors wrote. The witness reported seeing one of the suspects, later identified by witnesses as Miramontes-Villagrana, raise a knife and then make a stabbing motion.
Miramontes-Villagrana and Dapas fled in the van while Ortega-Ortega, bleeding profusely from his neck, made his way to his room and collapsed. Deputies and a medic arrived and treated Ortega-Ortega’s wounds, but pronounced him dead at the scene shortly after 2:30 a.m.
A witness pointed out that the suspects drove through the parking lot of the neighboring Denny’s and were getting onto southbound I-5. Deputies stopped them just one exit south of the motel, on 164th Street SW.
In interviews with detectives, the two men confirmed that they were at the motel and had gotten into a fight with Ortega-Ortega. Dapas reportedly didn’t see a weapon during the scuffle, but said he knew Miramontes-Villagrana always carried a serrated knife with him. Dapas recalled Miramontes-Villagrana repeatedly saying “I got him” as they drove off.
Detectives collected swabs of what appeared to be blood on Miramontes-Villagrana’s left hand.
Then, Miramontes-Villagrana handed the detectives a black hoodie. “This is what you want,” he said, according to documents. On the left sleeve, near the cuff, was a reddish substance that appeared to be blood.