By all accounts, 22-year-old Selvin Lopez-Mauricio was a well-liked, hard-working Guatemalan native who lived in Phoenixville. So the news that he had been fatally shot on Sept. 14 during a robbery hit the Hispanic community hard and has continued to reverberate.
At a preliminary hearing yesterday for 18-year-old Monique Robinson, one of three defendants in the murder case, Jose Parra, a community activist, accompanied the victim’s brother to court. Parra said the homicide marked Phoenixville’s first Hispanic murder as far back as anyone can remember, a statistic confirmed by Police Chief William Mossman.
“People really need to see justice served,” Parra said, adding that the Hispanic population has grown to between 500 and 600 residents. Parra said the community appreciated the tireless work of police, who combed the area nonstop for days after the murder. “I don’t think they slept much,” Parra said. In less than a week, investigators had warrants for Robinson; Saleem D. Williams, 20, of Sharon Hill; and Stephen A. Reidler, 23, of Linfield.
According to testimony at the preliminary hearing, Lopez-Mauricio had just returned home to Phoenixville about 12:40 a.m. after completing his shift at a Wendy’s restaurant in Royersford. Robinson, Williams, and Reidler had been doing drugs and were looking for someone to rob so they could buy more. Police said Lopez-Mauricio was carrying his backpack in front of him, perhaps signaling that it was valuable. The defendants assaulted him, knocking him to the ground, and Robinson grabbed the backpack. Lopez-Mauricio got up and chased them, catching up with Robinson. As he tried to wrest the backpack from her, Williams shot him, police said. The backpack contained some Wendy’s food, Lopez-Mauricio’s Wendy’s hat and shirt, his ID, and his paycheck — not the cash the alleged robbers were seeking.
Parra said funds were raised so that Lopez-Mauricio’s body could be returned to Guatemala for burial. “Part of resting in peace is receiving justice … Anything less than life without parole is unacceptable,” he said. For more information on the hearing, see http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20120113_Phoenixville_woman_held_for_trial_in_slaying.html.