Police charge 2 in fatal stabbing


Two men were charged Tuesday, and police were seeking a third suspect in the killing of a Columbia man who was stabbed at least 30 times, apparently because the victim struck another man's child, according to charging documents.

Howard County police charged Jerman Avelar, 27, with first- and second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the stabbing death early Tuesday morning of Rigoberto Zavala, 40, in an Owen Brown village apartment in the 6500 block of Quiet Hours Road. The second suspect, Marcus Tulio Moran, 31, was charged as an accessory, police said.

Police said yesterday that they had issued an arrest warrant for Elmer Antonio Galvan-Giron, 32, of the 6500 block of Quiet Hours Road in connection with the killing.

The homicide appears to have roots in an earlier confrontation between Zavala and a man who lived with his family in the same apartment, charging documents said.

On Saturday, Zavala yelled at one of the man's children and then struck the child over the head with a remote-control device, charging documents said.

The man confronted Zavala and told him not to correct his children, charging documents said.

He also told Zavala: "You and I need to meet outside ... and you will see what will happen," charging documents said.

On Monday, the man left the apartment about 11 p.m. He called two friends about an hour later and asked them for help in running an errand, charging documents said.

The two friends picked up the man from a parking lot at the Quiet Hours Road apartment, bought beer and returned to the apartment about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. During this drive, the man revealed his plan to kill Zavala and told one of the friends that he was obligated to help him, charging documents said.

Back at the apartment parking lot, the man told one companion to wait by the car while he and the other walked into the apartment. The two men entered the apartment and went into Zavala's bedroom. One of the men stabbed Zavala approximately 20 times, while the other stabbed him 10 times, charging documents said.

The three men left 20 minutes later and drove to Silver Spring, charging documents said. Once there, they disposed of a bloody shirt and a large butcher knife. A second knife was left in the victim, the charging documents said.

Zavala was found in the kitchen after police responded to a 911 call at 2:24 a.m. Tuesday from another resident of the apartment, who said a friend had been killed.

Avelar and Moran, who were arrested and charged Tuesday evening, lived at the same residence in the 9600 block of White Acre Road in Columbia. Avelar is being held without bond, and Moran is being held on a $1 million bond; both are at the Howard County Detention Center, police said.

This is the first such incident in Owen Brown village "in at least a decade," Neil E. Dorsey, board chairman for the Owen Brown Community Association, said yesterday.

"I'm not nervous at all," Dorsey said about the incident. "It wasn't random. It was a domestic situation it looks like, from my information from the police."

The homicide - the county's sixth this year - has prompted the county Police Department to schedule a community meeting for residents at 7 o'clock tonight at the Owen Brown Community Association, 6800 Cradlerock Way.

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