A 30-year-old man remained in custody this weekend after he allegedly fatally knifed a Bethlehem, Pa. man. The victim, Elson Aviles, 35, was driving back from the Wind Creek Bethlehem casino early Friday and later was seriously wounded by the passenger, police revealed.
Aviles was taken to a local hospital for treatment. But he died a short time later after surgery, according to Lehighvalleylive.com, a regional news site.
Shortly after the attack, Jose Luis Leon was charged with criminal homicide. During a Friday court appearance, Northampton County Magisterial District Judge Vivan Zumas ordered Leon held without bail.
The incident began Thursday night. Leon and Aviles had been at Wind Creek. A third person, Carmen Rosario, accompanied them.
On the way home, Aviles first dropped Rosario at her house in his Nissan Rogue. Once inside, at about 1 am Friday, Rosario heard Aviles shouting.
She checked her cell phone which is connected to an outdoor security camera. Rosario saw Aviles walking near her residence.
He was bloody. Leon allegedly was following him. Police officers were nearby.
Leon was grasping what was described as a large kitchen knife. Nearby, Aviles lay on the ground. His neck and chest were bleeding.
Aviles was able to relay to officers that “Jose” had stabbed him, police revealed. The victim also pointed out at Leon as his attacker, the news report said.
EMTs transported Aviles to St. Luke’s University Hospital in Fountain Hill. Doctors there performed emergency surgery.
But he succumbed to his injuries at 3:08 am Friday. The Lehigh County coroner’s office was expected to perform an autopsy this weekend.
Officers found the Nissan relatively close to the crime scene. It had been damaged when it hit a tree at an intersection, police said.
Officers checked inside. Blood was on the driver’s door. There was also blood on the driver’s seat and steering wheel.
Reported Dispute Over Car
Earlier that night, after just a few minutes in the casino, Leon told Aviles he wanted to get something he left in Aviles’ car. He was given the keys.
But 15 or 20 minutes later, Leon had not reentered the casino, The Morning Call, a Pennsylvania newspaper, reported.
Aviles and Rosario went outside to check on the car. It was gone. Aviles attempted to call Leon several times. He did not answer. Eventually, he picked up his cell phone to say he was driving back to Wind Creek casino.
Apparently angry over the dispute, the trio decided to leave the gaming venue.
Leon faces other charges, too. Following his apprehension, Leon was charged with possessing instruments of crime and drug possession. He additionally faces two counts of aggravated assault, according to a statement from Northampton County District Attorney Terence Houck.
The assault charges stem from Leon allegedly punching two police officers. The assaults took place at Bethlehem police headquarters.
Upon searching him, officers additionally said they located 23.6 grams of suspected fentanyl.
Criminal Record Revealed
The Morning Call reported that 11 years ago, Leon was sentenced to 2.5 to five years in prison. He had pled guilty in Berks County Court to aggravated assault and robbery, The Morning Call said.
Later, he was sentenced in Northampton County to six months to a year in jail for resisting arrest in 2013. Still later, in 2017, he was sentenced to one to three years for making terroristic threats, the report adds.
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