PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The suspect in a triple homicide this week claimed he shot and killed his ex-girlfriend and her two brothers in self-defense because “they kind of tortured me," according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said they were called to an apartment in the 4700 block of Cole St. Wednesday at 10:18 p.m. after receiving several 911 calls regarding gunshots being fired.
While law enforcement was headed to the scene, they received a called from a man who identified himself as “Neil,” who said he shot and killed three people. He said one of the victims was his ex-girlfriend and the other two people were her two brothers.
After arriving at the apartment, deputies said “Neil” was standing in the road next to a pickup truck.
Law enforcement found a dead woman, identified as Yasnai Moliner Year, 40, face down with an apparent gunshot wound to the head in the driveway.
When deputies opened the door of the apartment, they discovered a man dead lying face down in the doorway from an apparent gunshot to the head.
After searching the apartment further, deputies said they later found the third victim in a bathroom tub dead from a gunshot wound.
PBSO identified “Neil” as Yuniel Martinez-De La Cotera, 41, and said they believe he lives, or used to live, at the residence in the past year.
The arrest report says Martinez-De La Cotera claimed he shot the three people because they "kind of tortured me and my kid” and killed in self-defense.
The suspected gunman also said he was tortured with money and was kicked out of the house.
PBSO said there was no evidence to support Martinez-De La Cotera’s self-defense claim since there was no obvious signs of a struggle and none of the victims had a weapon.
Martinez-De La Cotera was arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder with a firearm.
PBSO on Friday identified the victims as:
- Yasnai Moliner Yera, 40
- Yasmar Alfaro-Yera, 25
- Yusnier Alfaro-Yera, 25
Yadira Vera Martinez, a friend of the suspect and his slain ex-girlfriend, described Martinez-De La Cotera as a "good man a working man." But that friend added Martinez-De La Cotera's four-year relationship with Yera took a down turn over a month ago.
Communication records from authorities showed calls for domestic and civil matters earlier this month.
"Nothing can pay for what he did," said Martinez. "100 years of jail won’t pay for what he did, because he took away the life of three innocent people and he left the child alone."
Martinez-De La Cotera appeared in court Friday morning and was represented by a public defender. He was denied bond.
Meanwhile the victims' family says they’re working with Cuban authorities to get the bodies repatriated back to Cuba where the victims' parents live.
“I had to confirm the news (to my parents) it was horrible,” said Marlene Alfaro, sister of the victims. “They are desperate. They don't want anyone to go through something like this. Those were their lives, their two kids, their smallest kids. And they were so happy that they had arrived to this country."