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Trial set to begin in Durango Steakhouse killing

A jury was seated Monday in the trial of Wilson Saintil, who is accused of murdering the assistant manager of a Durango Steakhouse in St. Petersburg in 2005. Opening statements are expected to begin this morning.

Saintil, a maintenance worker for the restaurant, is accused of murdering Stephen F. Holmes, 29. An exterminator arrived at the restaurant for routine work in the early morning hours of Dec. 12, 2005, and found Holmes dead inside.

Holmes recently had been promoted to assistant manager of the restaurant, 3901 Fourth St. N, and was closing for the night when he was killed.

Holmes, a married father of a young son, was a St. Petersburg native and graduate of Northeast High School. After several days of investigation, St. Petersburg police arrested Saintil. Detectives said robbery appeared to be the motive. Money was missing from the restaurant.

Police said Saintil had handled maintenance for the restaurant for several years and had a key to the business. Police said they found his bloody fingerprint at the crime scene.

Prosecutors have indicated they will seek the death penalty against Saintil, who turned 54 last week.

Circuit Judge Nancy Moate Ley told jurors the trial could finish by week's end, though it could run into next week.

Trial set to begin in Durango Steakhouse killing 04/14/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 1:46pm]
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