In recent weeks, Sonia Olvera Jimenez’s drug use and increasingly erratic and threatening behavior escalated to the point that her mother and teenage daughter moved out of their shared Burien house, according to King County prosecutors.
They and other family members called 911 on Saturday and reported there was a dead body in one of the basement bedrooms Olvera rented out in her house in the 12400 block of Roseberg Avenue South, say criminal charges filed Wednesday.
Olvera, 35, was arrested Sunday in the parking lot of El Baron Rojo, a restaurant and nightclub she owns in Burien, and she has since been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Gerardo Valles, 38, charging papers say. She remains jailed in lieu of $2 million bail, jail records show.
Valles, who worked for Olvera at the club and rented a room from her, was fatally shot in the head on March 19 as he lounged on a couch in his bedroom, the charges say.
Witnesses told King County Sheriff’s detectives that Olvera had held two men at gunpoint inside her house for 1 1/2 days the week before Valles was killed, accused them of being “undercover agents” and threatened to kill them, say charging papers. The men escaped but didn’t report the incident to police because they worried Olvera had connections to a drug cartel, the charges say.
“One witness recounted a conversation with the defendant in which she asked him if he would be willing to kill the victim. The defendant then admitted to shooting and killing the victim herself,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jennifer Petersen wrote in charging documents.
Olvera asked witnesses to help her dispose of the body, then threatened them with a firearm partially concealed in a hat, Peterson wrote. “She told this same witness that she had ‘three more people to kill.’ The witnesses in this case are understandably terrified for their safety.”
According to the charges:
Just after 5:30 p.m. Saturday, a relative called 911 and reported there was a dead body in the basement of Olvera’s house. A deputy went to the house but no one answered his knocks and he found no signs of a disturbance.
An hour later, another family member called 911 and a group of relatives, including Olvera, met the deputy and a sergeant outside the house. Olvera escorted them to the basement. When the deputies opened a bedroom door, they found a man dead on a couch with a blanket covering his body and a plastic bag over his head. He had been shot once in the forehead.
“As this was discovered, Sonia jumped back in surprise, shouting, ‘Oh my god!’ ” a detective wrote in the charging documents.
One family member later told detectives that Olvera had shown her and a friend the man’s body, then drove with two relatives to an apartment in Des Moines, where Olvera demanded that a former employee come to her house to “remove some trash,” say the charges.
The family member, who assumed the comment was about disposing the body, said Olvera was armed with a baseball bat and a .45-caliber handgun at the time.
The Des Moines man later told detectives he had briefly lived at Olvera’s house but moved out because of her paranoid and unpredictable behavior. He said Olvera told him if he didn’t help her remove the body, she would frame him for the killing and claimed she had shell casings with his fingerprints on them.
Olvera refused to leave his apartment building and used a chip bag and a hat to conceal her handgun. The man drove away to get Olvera to leave and she followed him before he was able to elude her.
After returning from Des Moines, Olvera’s family members called police. One of them also showed detectives a photo of a plastic bag belonging to Olvera that contained a large amount of meth.
When detectives searched the house, they found a .45-caliber shell casing near the victim’s body and found .45-caliber ammunition in Olvera’s bedroom and car, though no weapons were located. In the car’s backseat, they also found a ballistic vest. Valles’ car also found parked on the street and video-surveillance footage from a nearby business showed it hadn’t been moved since he had returned home at 4:45 p.m. March 19.
Detectives determined that Valles had been sitting upright on the couch when he was shot from the doorway of his bedroom. The blanket and plastic bag were placed over his body and head after he was killed, the charges say.
The charges don’t indicate a motive, but one witness told detectives Olvera had asked him to kill Valles and commented, “they would have to kill some people if they were betrayed.” When the witness asked about Valles, Olvera claimed she and Valles had gotten into an argument and he had run away, the charges say.