Surprising Guilty Plea by Accused Murderer Extradited from Mexico - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Surprising Guilty Plea by Accused Murderer Extradited from Mexico

PASCO, Wash.- The first accused murderer in Franklin County ever extradicted from Mexico entered a surprising guilty plea Wednesday.

Prosecutor Steve Lowe said he agreed to the plea because they've lost contact with his main witness in the case.

Carlos Villanueva-Garcia was accused of aiding in the 2004 killing of Miguel Angel Cortes, reportedly over rent owed to the victim.

Villaneuva-Garcia was located in Mexico later that year.

More than two years later, he became the first local murder suspect ever extradicted from Mexico.

Wednesday, he stood in front of a judge and plead guilty to a reduced charge of 2nd-degree manslaughter, but because of time served in a Mexican jail and in Franklin County, he won't face any more time behind bars.

"We're probably 30, 60, 90 days from a trial date on this and since he got credit for time served, that was his option," said his defense attorney Carl Sonderman. 

"Obviously the defense would want no charges, and i don't necessarily like to reduce charges, but when you're faced with a week from trial and you don't have you're eyewitness," said Lowe.

The defendant is not walking on this.

Because he's an illegal immigrant, he's forever barred from entering the U.S. again and he'll be deported back to Mexico.

Police are still looking for the man they say fired the deadly shots in the case and another accomplice.

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