One charged, one at large in fatal beating near Safeco Field

SEATTLE -- King County prosecutors have charged a 46-year-old man in the beating death of Alvaro Ruiz, a homeless man was found dead in his blanket Sept. 28 near Safeco Field.

Prosecutors contend Ceasar Jesus Rafaela-Conde and an as-yet-unidentified accomplice brutally beat Ruiz after waking the sleeping man. Found under a blanket near the Sodo baseball stadium, Ruiz's ribs and face had been broken, and he suffered severe brain injuries.

Charged with second-degree murder, Rafaela-Conde was arrested Saturday. He is alleged to have admitted to the attack while attempting to pin much of the violence on his accomplice, who remains at large.

Ruiz was found dead shortly after 1 a.m. on an Edgar Martinez Drive South underpass. Another man sleeping in the area told police two men - identified as "El Comandante" and "El Oso" - had attacked Ruiz earlier.

The man went on to say that he knew of no reason why either of the men would want to harm Ruiz.

"He is unaware of any reason they would be angry with Alvaro," a Seattle detective said in court papers. "He never knew Alvaro to offend anyone. He never saw him fight or anything."

While the man saw Ruiz chased by the other men, he didn't learn he had been killed until the following day, the detective continued.

According to charging documents, police subsequently identified Rafaela-Conde as "El Comandante" and arrested him following a tip.

Rafaela-Conde, whose identity appears to be in question, is alleged to have admitted to punching Ruiz in the head and face at least 10 times. He purportedly told police "El Oso" kicked Ruiz in the chest repeatedly; Rafaela-Conde purportedly claimed he tried to stop the attack.

Rafaela-Conde said they covered Ruiz with his blanket before leaving, and that Ruiz was still breathing then, the detective told the court.

Charged with second-degree murder, Rafaela-Conde remains jailed on $500,000 bail. He is set to be arraigned Nov. 6 in King County Superior Court.