+ See What Our Clients Are Saying

Ben, I would like to thank you and your entire team for all your efforts in getting my case to settlement.

- Mary M.-->

Past Murder Case Being Re-Evaluated

On Behalf of / Wednesday, 01 July 2015 / Published in battery, Homicide, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death

2007 Bus Driver Murder Case


Crime scenes are often left as a mystery. Sadly there are some sick people in this world and they are very good at covering their tracks. Some cases go unsolved simply for the lack of evidence. There’s actually a ton of reasons that murder cases go “unsolved” or unresolved.

The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) have confirmed that a man who was/is suspected of killing an off-duty bus driver at a San Diego doughnut shop, eight years ago will now face charges in the cold case.

The SDPD investigators have said that forty year old, Santiago Covarrubias will be facing murder charges for the 2007 killing of thirty-eight year old, Damon Green. Covarrubias has already been serving time in the state prison for other, unrelated homicide. The police found the information linking Covarrubias to the cold case while Covarrubias was still in prison. According to the SDPD, Covarrubias is now in custody in the San Diego Central Jail and will appear in court on a Monday.

According to the reports, Covarrubias is actually the second person to be linked to this murder case this year. The case was strangely enough cold for more than eight years. I guess when the information comes, it comes all at once.

On July 28th of this year, San Diego resident, Martin Villapando was arrested by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. The thirty-six year old was arrested as he was legally entering into the United States. He was then jailed on first degree murder for the connection of Green’s killing.

The court reports show that Villapando pleaded not guilty at his arraignment. The judge set his bail at $2 million. Villapando has been in custody and at the South Bay Detention Facility for around four months. He is scheduled to appear in court on December 17.


Bus Driver Shoot and Killed


The investigators say that Green was found critically injured and was found behind the Donuts Plus shop. The shop is located at 4090 El Cajon Blvd. Green was found around 2:30 in the early morning on March 20, 2007. The reports say that the man had suffered from several gunshot wounds to his torso. Green was quickly taken to a local hospital where he sadly passed away an hour later.

The investigating detectives think that Green was with a friend and eating at the taco shop which is next door to the doughnut shop, when Green got into the argument with Villapando and Covarrubias. Villapando and Covarrubias were the first ones to leave the taco shop.


Crime in San Diego


However, the two sneaksters came back as Mr. Green and his friend were leaving the shop. They didn’t come alone though, they came armed with a gun. The suspects confronted, unarmed Green outside of the doughnut shop. They started shooting at Green. Green ran into the doughnut shop to try to seek cover, however according to the detectives, shots were fired and went through the plate glass window. The shot fired that time would be the one to fatally wound Mr.Green.

The suspects were of course, quick to leave the scene. They made their getaway before the officers could respond to the call. The suspects were last seen on the northbound 41st Street. After Villapando was arrested over the summer Deputy District Attorney Supervisor of the Cold Case Homicide Unit, Tom Manning said that the cold case detectives had been actively working on this case for years. They had even talked to Villapando before about Green’s murder.


Manning’s Statement about the Murder


The police have had continuous contact with witnesses, including Mr. Villapando over the years. He knew San Diego Police detectives were continuing on the case and were also looking at him over the last few years.


If Mr. Villapando is convicted of Green’s murder he will face up to fifty years to life in prison.

Sybil Green, mother of deceased victim, said that the news of a arrest for her son’s killers over the summer brought her a wave of emotions. Which I’m sure is understandable. She probably feels the pain of losing her son all over, but some relief that something is being done about his death. But then probably guilty over someone else losing their life. I can’t imagine what she’s going through.

Sybil said that the day her son was tragically killed, was the “day her heard died”. And even though it’s been a few years, her family will always mourn for the loss of her son.


Sybil’s Statment:

You murder one person, but you slaughter a family because our family has not been the same since.

The family of Green are currently living in Las Vegas. Sybil said that she has always refused to believe that the killer of her son would actually get away with it. She’s looking forward to finally getting some justice for her son. She always refers to Green as her “gentle giant”.

Green didn’t just leave his mother behind though, he is survived by two sons and a daughter.  All because of a little dispute in a taco shop. Hopefully his loving family can get some peace, knowing that Green’s death isn’t going to go unpunished.

We hope that the police are able to get the crime rates down in San Diego and Phoenix. If not, what is going to be left for the families in those cities?

Criminal Defense Lawyers PLLC

668 N 44th St. Suite 300
Phoenix, AZ 85008
(480) 351-6445