Attempt Murder/Rape Suspect Found Guilty in Nicaragua

June 8, 2007

Los Angeles: A Nicaraguan national who had fled after committing a heinous crime in the US, was found guilty in a Nicaraguan court, 10 years later.

On October 15, 1997, at about 12:30 PM, a 19 year-old girl was raped, bound and stabbed at a beauty salon in the Rampart Area. After the rape, the suspect, Freddy Tamir Centeno, attempted to silence the victim by stabbing and choking her numerous times, leaving her for dead prior to fleeing the location.

The girl was taken to Los Angeles County USC Medical Center, where she underwent emergency surgery and survived.

Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Centeno and profiled the case on the local news, as one of Los Angeles most wanted. Numerous tips received from viewers placed Centeno in Managua, Nicaragua. The LAPD’s Foreign Prosecution/Interpol Liaison Unit and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office requested Centeno’s extradition from Nicaragua through diplomatic channels. Although Nicaragua does not extradite their nationals, in accordance to an Extradition Treaty, Nicaragua prosecutes their nationals for crimes committed abroad.

After a decade of intensive search, on February 7, 2006, Centeno was apprehended and jailed in Nicaragua. He remained in custody until court proceedings began in March 2007.

On May 18, 2007, a jury trial began and the attorneys from the Nicaraguan Attorney General’s Office presented the case to a panel of five jurors. Several LAPD detectives and scientific investigators testified in Nicaraguan court.

On May 28, 2007, the jury unanimously proclaimed Freddy Tamir Centeno guilty of all charges. The Judge of the 5th Judicial District Court of Managua sentenced Centeno to the maximum term available in Nicaragua of 28 years in prison.

This is the 3rd case in the past nine years presented in Nicaragua by the LAPD for Domestic Prosecution and the third case in which the suspect has been found guilty and convicted by the Nicaraguan Judicial System.

For further information contact Detectives Rosibel Ferrufino-Smith and Larry Bennett, Rampart Major Assault Crimes Unit, at 213-207-2000.