JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Nassau County jury on Friday indicted an illegal immigrant on a murder charge in the November 2016 death of a deputy who was struck by a vehicle during a foot chase across a busy highway.
Jurors returned a four-count indictment charging Francisco Obidio Portillo-Fuentes, 27, of El Salvador, with second-degree felony murder, aggravated manslaughter, escape and resisting without violence.
Portillo-Fuentes, who had been deported twice before the deadly crash, was sentenced last year to two years in federal prison, the maximum sentence for illegally reentering the country after removal.
DOCUMENT: View the indictment
According to a federal complaint, Portillo-Fuentes bolted from a pickup truck parked at a gas station along State Road 200 in Yulee when Customs and Border Patrol agents approached the driver Nov. 22.
Two Nassau County deputies answering an unrelated call in the area chased after him. One of them, 32-year-old Eric Oliver, was struck and killed by a passing sport-utility vehicle as he ran across SR 200.
Portillo-Fuentes was taken into custody by federal agents and police at a self-storage business in Jacksonville’s San Jose neighborhood 11 hours later, authorities said.
Prosecutors contend Portillo-Fuentes was escaping from the custody of a Border Patrol agent during the immigration stop, and that his decision to flee from the agent contributed to Oliver’s death.
According to Florida law, a person facing a felony charge can also be charged with felony murder if someone else dies while the felony is being carried out.
The El Salvadorian man first was deported from the United States in 2011 and then again at some point following his August 2016 conviction on driving under the influence.
Portillo-Fuentes, who currently is being held without bond, is set to appear in Nassau County court Thursday morning.