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Former murder suspect Angel Villalona gets travel visa, will be in Giants’ camp

Feb 7, 2013, 9:07 PM EDT

Angel Villalona AP

Once upon a time, Angel Villalona was a highly regarded first base prospect with the Giants. However, he hasn’t played in the United States since 2009 because of a murder charge in his native Dominican Republic. Nearly four years later, he’s going to get the opportunity to resume his career stateside.

According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Villalona has received a travel visa and will be in big league camp with the Giants this spring. He is expected to join the team next week in Arizona.

Villalona spent three months in jail after being accused of killing a 25-year-old man in a nightclub in September of 2009, but the charges were eventually dismissed following a $139,000 settlement with the victim’s family. After dropping a breach of contract lawsuit against the Giants, Villalona was added back to the 40-man roster last offseason and protected from the Rule 5 Draft. However, because he failed to obtain a visa, he spent last season in the Dominican Summer League.

Putting Villalona’s legal problems aside, the odds are against him reestablishing himself as a prospect, as his stock was on the decline even before the arrest. The 22-year-old compiled a terrible 235/45 K/BB ratio over his first three seasons in pro ball and had issues with conditioning.

  1. sisqsage - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    Panda light…or maybe not so light.
    With his checkered backlground, he’ll fit right into the pro sports scene these days (PEDs, cash payments to make unpleasant things go away). He’ll be just one of the gang.

  2. paul621 - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    So bizarre that criminal charges can be dropped with a financial settlement.

    • garlicfriesandbaseball - Feb 8, 2013 at 2:09 AM

      In the case of white collar crime almost all of the cases are settled this way. They’ll reduce 12 felony counts to one little misdemeanor if they can get a settlement, which means they didn’t have much of a case to begin with. An individual can easily spend $300,000 and eventually has to end up with a misdemeanor and financial settlement because he runs out of money. The DA never runs out of money. That’s what’s bizarre.

      • garlicfriesandbaseball - Feb 9, 2013 at 1:58 AM

        To Zacksdad: “You should not be able to buy yourself out of a murder charge.” That’s a bizarre statement since it’s only a “CHARGE” and in America you’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. The fact is you have to pay a fortune to defend yourself otherwise the District Attorney automatically wins. What if it was a set-up? Let’s face it ~ the average person doesn’t have that kind of money sitting in his cookie jar so he goes to jail.

    • fanofevilempire - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:04 AM

      not criminal charges, it was a murder charge

      • tuberippin - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:18 AM

        Murder isn’t a criminal act?

      • zacksdad - Feb 8, 2013 at 12:46 PM

        I think he meant this is not white collar crime. You should not be able to “buy” yourself out of a murder charge, heck 139k is pretty cheap.

    • slickdemetrius - Feb 8, 2013 at 10:07 AM

      If the glove don’t fit, you must acquit.

    • tcostant - Feb 8, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      Maybe once the financial settlement was made, the witness needed to convict suddenly didn’t want to testify?

    • badintent - Feb 8, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      This is America $$$$.See Ray Lewis, Delonte Stallworth,Robert blake, Robert Wagner etc.

  3. jacobknicks - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    I have no trouble calling Villalona a murderer but, fair is fair, he was an elite prospect (baseball America top 50 prospect 2 years running)

  4. Stiller43 - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    He should play in baltimore. They praise their sports stars, despite murder charges.

    • jwbiii - Feb 7, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      To be fair, only if they also use PEDs and say “God” a lot.

      • stlouis1baseball - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:03 PM

        Yeah…and they also must cry everytime they are shown on TV.

  5. vallewho - Feb 7, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    We’ll see if Villalona comes up with a dance routine…

  6. tackleberries - Feb 7, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    I wouldn’t throw at him.

  7. tfbuckfutter - Feb 7, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    I wish the write up said HOW he killed a man in a night club.

    But since it doesn’t, I am going to assume it was with his sick dance moves during a dance off that the deceased initiated.

  8. braddavery - Feb 8, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    Ray Lewis ain’t got nothin’ on Angel!

  9. mojosmagic - Feb 8, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    What’s criminal is SF letting this guy anywhere near a baseball field.

  10. cubanxsenators - Feb 10, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    Let me start by saying I have no idea of the veracity of the charge from 2009, and that it is an undeniable fact that a young man died tragically that night in La Romana.

    Having read a bit about the case on English and Spanish sites in the months after the incident, however, I have to say the writing about the case in the US has been egregiously misleading — mostly due to folks overlaying their expectations from US law onto another nation’s legal system and culture.

    It began with the reports in the US of “he turned himself in on a murder charge!”, always with the subtext of imply admission of guilt. But the police were seeking him as a named suspect — not reporting to the police station would have been fleeing the law. “Turning himself in” the next day was the most sensible & responsible thing Villalona could do.

    The facts of the case were extremely murky in the Dominican newspapers. It’s quite possible that that was due to PR and people tied the defense throwing everything they could against the wall — I don’t know. But I’ll just say my recollection is that it seemed murky. There were some who said Villalona, while there earlier, was no longer on the scene — the primary witnesses for the prosecution seemed to be family members of the victim. Again, I have no way of knowing what happened or which of these reports were reliable (or even total confidence in my memory 3 years after reading these things). I just know that I came away from reading with no sense of there being any way to know without attending the hearings.

    When the case was resolved due to “lack of evidence”, the implication in US reports became “how corrupt that a payment was made and then those officials dropped the case (don’t they want to see justice done! money will get you out of anything!)”. Or the implication was that the victims family could decide not to press charges in a murder case — which isn’t true in the Dominican.

    Yet if the law was so corrupt as to dismiss charges after a payment was made, why would they not be so corrupt as to generate charges so that an extortionary payment would be necessary? If the first type of corruption exists, the other is certainly plausible & I’d say likely.

    Yet again, without any way to discern, folks have been mighty willing to make determinations.

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