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09/21/09 10:03 PM ET
Villalona pleads innocent to murder charge
Giants prospect jailed two months during investigation
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
Giants prospect Angel Villalona appeared in a bulletproof vest Monday in a La Romana courtroom, where he was charged with murder in the weekend shooting death at a bar in his Dominican Republic hometown. Villalona pleaded innocent to the charge of shooting 25-year-old Mario Felix de Jesus Velete. Judge Aranibal Manzano Zapata ordered the 19-year-old first baseman jailed for two months while authorities prepare their case. The Giants declined to comment on the development. On Sunday, upon first news of the case, the club had issued a statement that it was "disappointed" that Villalona was considered a suspect in the shooting. Giants manager Bruce Bochy hadn't yet heard any updates of Villalona's status when he was asked in Chase Field prior to the opening game of a series against the D-backs. Villalona, who had turned himself in to police within 12 hours after the bar shooting, declined to speak to reporters at Monday's court hearing. The recipient of a San Francisco-record $2.1 million bonus when signed as a 16-year-old in 2006, Villalona batted .267 in 74 games with Class A San Jose in the California League this season. He was part of the World Team in the 2008 Futures Game in Yankee Stadium prior to the 2008 All-Star Game.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.