OCEAN CITY – Relatives of the man sentenced to life in prison for the stabbing of a West Ocean City woman in April 2008 were arrested last week and charged as accessories for covering up the convicted killer’s sexual assault and abuse of their own daughter a little over a month before the murder.
Last week, Worcester County Circuit Court Judge Theodore Eschenberg sentenced convicted killer Roberto Antonio Murillo to life in prison for the stabbing death of Cecilia Dea Parker in her West Ocean City home last April. Hours after the life sentence was handed down, Murillo was formally charged with sexual assault and abuse on his 16-year-old niece in the Mystic Harbor residence he lived in along with the victim’s parents, Murillo’s brother Luis Murillo and his wife Josefina.
Late last week, Ocean City police arrested Luis and Josefina Murillo on a warrant sworn out by Worcester County detectives in the sexual assault and abuse case against Murillo, charging them as accessories for allegedly covering up the actions of their brother and brother-in-law against their daughter. Luis and Josefina Murillo were taken into custody and charged with three counts each of accessory after the statute for their respective roles in the cover-up.
The charges against Roberto Murillo stem from an interview with the alleged victim conducted by a Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) detective and a county social worker on Dec. 31, just days before Murillo’s sentencing hearing for his conviction in the Parker murder. In the interview, the victim told investigators the first incident happened in October 2006 when Murillo sexually assaulted her in their Mystic Harbor home.
According to the victim, a similar incident occurred in August 2007, but the victim told investigators she was able to thwart his advances.
Finally, in March 2008, another alleged incident occurred just one month before the murder that perhaps foreshadowed the terrible incident that had yet occurred. According to the victim, on March 1, Murillo knocked on her bedroom door, and when she opened it, he pushed her to the floor and placed his hand over her mouth. When the victim struggled, Murillo allegedly placed a knife to her throat and said he “would kill her” if she continued to make noise. According to police reports, the victim’s parents then came in the room at which time Murillo hid in a closet while the victim fled the room.
Based on the victim’s testimony, Murillo was formerly charged last Monday afternoon with first-degree assault, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and attempted child abuse. However, it wasn’t until days later that the victim’s parents, Luis and Josefina Murillo, were arrested and charged as accessories in the crimes.
In October, the Worcester County detective and the social worker interviewed Josefina Murillo about her knowledge of the alleged attacks carried out on her daughter by her brother-in-law, Roberto Murillo. Josefina Murillo told investigators her daughter had told her about the three attacks, and that she and her husband, Luis Murillo, had questioned Roberto Murillo about the incidents but he denied the allegations.
In reference to the March 2008 incident involving the knife, Josefina Murillo said she had picked up Roberto Murillo earlier from a bar and that he was extremely intoxicated. She said her daughter should have known not to answer her bedroom door because she knew her uncle, Roberto Murillo, was intoxicated. Josefina Murillo admitted she and her husband found Roberto Murillo hiding in the girl’s closet with a knife.
According to reports, the victim fled the room and called 911 to report the attack, but while police were en route to the residence, the victim’s parents, Luis and Josefina Murillo, told their daughter to say nothing about the attack with a knife, instead instructing her to tell police she had called 911 because she heard a noise outside and was scared.
According to charging documents, Josefina Murillo “was well aware of the multiple assaults on her daughter. The victim told her mother Roberto Murillo was sexually assaulting her and Josefina Murillo found Roberto Murillo in her daughter’s closet holding a knife. Despite all of this, Josefina Murillo failed to do anything to protect her daughter.”
In his own interview with police, Luis Murillo also acknowledged he was aware of the sexual attacks on his daughter by his brother, Roberto Murillo, who had been living with the family in West Ocean City for three years. Luis Murillo also did nothing to protect his daughter and also instructed her to lie to police about the alleged knife assault in March, police reports indicate.
Both Luis and Josefina Murillo have been charged with accessory after the statute for their alleged cover-up of Roberto Murillo’s attacks on their daughter. It’s important to note, the alleged knife attack in March 2008 came just one month before Roberto Murillo murdered Dea Parker in her home and if the victim’s parents had been forthcoming about his actions, authorities have noted that the crime one month later might have been averted.