Murder Charges Dropped In Vacationer’s Fatal Stabbing

( – Prosecutors in Texas have dropped murder charges against two defendants for the killing of a 23-year-old Seattle woman last year. Marisela Botello-Valadez was murdered in 2020, and two of the three suspects were released on bond, cut off their ankle monitors, and fled the country. The FBI later found them in Colombia.

On December 11, a judge dropped the charges against Nina Marano and Charles Anthony Beltran, saying it was “in the interests of justice” to do so. The third defendant, Lisa Dykes, still faces a murder count, while Marano and Beltran will be indicted for tampering with evidence.

Mr. Beltran testified that he met Botello-Valadez at a nightclub, and the two went home together – he was living with Lisa Dykes at the time. He told the court he fell asleep, but when he awoke, he found Dykes stabbing the victim. Her body was found on a country road months later.

The living arrangements of the trio were somewhat unusual, and they were involved in a three-way romantic relationship. Dykes was married to Marano, but both women were also involved with Mr. Beltran. Prosecutors allege that Dykes flew into a jealous rage when she saw Botello-Valadez in her home and murdered her out of anger.

Dykes furiously denies the charges, however, and said she had never committed a crime. “I did nothing but work and raise children all my life. Why would I even be suspicious in this? I’ve never been arrested, I have no criminal record,” she said on the witness stand.

Dykes told the jury that Beltran was aggressive and a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” She furthermore stated that she suspected he was involved in human trafficking. Her attorney, Heath Harris, said Beltran is an accomplished liar and the jury should dismiss his testimony as fabrication.

Harris has also suggested the victim did not die at his client’s house but was seen in various places after the date of the apparent murder.

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