ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal jury convicted an Alexandria man yesterday of murdering another man in retaliation for robbing him of an ounce of marijuana, and trying to convince a witness to lie for him to cover it up.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Melvin Palma Flores, 20, was a marijuana dealer who carried firearms for protection while dealing drugs. On October 25, 2019, the victim, X.B., arranged for his two associates to purchase marijuana from Palma Flores. In reality, X.B. intended for his associates to rob Palma Flores. When the associates showed up to Palma Flores’s home in Alexandria, one of them stole the marijuana from Palma Flores and brought it back to X.B.
Palma Flores then planned his retaliation against X.B. for setting up the robbery. Palma Flores, who was carrying a firearm, met with two of his associates and traveled to X.B.’s apartment complex in Alexandria. X.B., who was unarmed, was sitting on the staircase outside of his apartment. Palma Flores discharged his firearm multiple times, striking X.B. in the right arm and in the top of the head, causing X.B.’s death.
Following his arrest in February of 2020, Palama Flores wrote a letter to his girlfriend instructing her to lie about the events that occurred on the night of the murder and to influence others to lie about the incident to law enforcement.
Palma Flores was convicted of murder by firearm in relation to drug trafficking, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and witness tampering and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 29, 2022. He faces a maximum term of life in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Kevin Davis, Fairfax County Chief of Police; and Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Division, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Rossie D. Alston, Jr. accepted the verdict.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael P. Ben’Ary and Katherine E. Rumbaugh are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:20-cr-142.
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