Alleged brothel operator not guilty in 2008 Annapolis killing

An Anne Arundel County jury has found an alleged brothel operator not guilty in the 2008 death of a man who prosecutors said was a rival in the Annapolis prostitution business.

On Friday, Kerlin Fuentes, 26, was found not guilty of first-degree and second-degree murder in the death of Ricardo Humberto Rivas-Ramirez. He also was found not guilty of the attempted murder of a woman who had been with Rivas-Ramirez at the time of the shooting.

As the verdict was read, members of the county State's Attorney's Office sat silently in the gallery. Fuentes leaned over to thank his public defenders and smiled as he was led from the courtroom.

Police and prosecutors had alleged Fuentes hopped in the back of a Cadillac just after midnight on Sept. 13, 2008 and shot the driver, Rivas-Ramirez, and a woman passenger who police identified as a prostitute. Fuentes' DNA was found in the rear of the car, they said.

But when the woman was shown a picture of Fuentes, she said he was not the shooter.

The case remained unsolved for years until police got the DNA match in 2010 and another woman said in 2011 that she saw Fuentes celebrating the killing with his business partner, who was a rival with Rivas-Ramirez, prosecutors said.

Despite the acquittal, Fuentes is not a free man. He is serving a 19-year sentence on federal convictions of sex trafficking and conspiracy. He was one of four people charged by the federal government in an investigation of prostitution in Annapolis and Easton.

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