Police seek third suspect in machete slaying; victim identified

Carlos Urgell-Perez, 21, is wanted for murder in the Sept. 5 machete slaying of 35-year-old Raphael Baragan-Alverez of Ward Avenue.

Arrest warrants released Monday painted a gruesome picture of an early Saturday morning home invasion that ended with one man being hacked to death and his girlfriend fleeing for help, leaving behind her young daughter.

The Charleston County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as Raphael Baragan-Alverez, 35, of North Charleston.

Jesus Arizmendi, 24, and Jose Arizmendi, 21, both of Midland Park Road, face several charges in the case, including murder, kidnapping, first-degree burglary and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

They appeared at a bond hearing late Monday morning. Both said they did not do it and said authorities need to catch the man who did.

Investigators this afternoon released a photo of the third suspect, Carlos Urgell-Perez, 21. Anyone with information about the case or about Urgell’s whereabouts should call Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111 or the Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch Center at 843-743-7200.

The slaying took place around 3:45 a.m. Saturday, as three men wielding long-bladed knives forced their way into the house at 6894 Ward Ave. and went after Baragan-Alverez, warrants said.

They told Silvia Martinez Garcia, 28, who also was in the house with her 2-year-old daughter, that they would harm both of them if they tried to escape. She eventually fled out the back door alone around the time Baragan-Alverez’s head, torso and arms were cut, causing his death, the warrants said. Deputies found him dead outside the front door.

Garcia made a tearful statement in Spanish on Monday. Lydia Cotton, a liaison to the Lowcountry’s Hispanic community, translated part of it, saying that Garcia said the crime was unfair, that Baragan-Alverez was a good man and now she is alone.

Charleston County Sheriff’s Maj. Eric Watson called it “a very personal crime,” and warrants noted that Garcia picked the suspects out of a line-up Saturday and that she had been arrested with them following a 2013 North Charleston traffic stop.

Neither the warrants nor any of Monday’s court statements hinted at a possible motive.

Baragan-Alverez’s wife, Alicia Alverez of Moncks Corner, also addressed Jose Arizmendi during his bond hearing.

“It’s not fair that you took a father away from his three children,” she said. “The way you guys did this, I don’t understand ... I hope you all rot in hell.”

But Jesus Arizmendi, who appeared first, said, “I did not kidnap anybody. The truth needs to be told ... I did not kill him.”

He also told his mother he loved her until Magistrate Martelle Morrison cut him off, telling him, “Please, no more statements.”

Jose Arizmendi said less, but his mother, Maria Arizmendi, said, “They need to get the person who is actually responsible for this. There is a lot of information out there that is not right.”

Morrison set no bond for either brother on the charges of burglary, kidnapping and murder, as only a Circuit Court judge can set bond on a murder charge. He gave both $100,000 bonds on the charge of possessing a deadly weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.