Hit man gets 30-60 years in death of SEPTA driver

Miguel Gonzalez was found in Honduras and arrested.
Miguel Gonzalez was found in Honduras and arrested.
Posted: April 25, 2014

PHILADELPHIA A Southwest Philadelphia auto mechanic who admitted killing a SEPTA trolley driver on orders of the driver's jilted girlfriend was sentenced Wednesday to 30 to 60 years in prison.

Miguel Gonzalez, 39, said nothing before Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner sentenced him in the May 31, 2012, shooting of Aaron Hayes Sr.

The sentence was negotiated by Assistant District Attorney Gail Fairman and defense attorneys Susan Ricci and Francis Carmen as part of Gonzalez's guilty plea to third-degree murder and conspiracy.

Hayes, 52, a 27-year SEPTA employee, was killed shortly before 5 a.m. as he left for work from his house in the 7100 block of Elmwood Avenue, which he had shared for 17 years with Desiree Hicks. Despite the hour, several people saw Hayes' slaying, including a fellow trolley driver, Fairman said.

Witnesses said they saw a man get out of Hayes' van and shoot Hayes in the head, the neck, and an arm before getting into a car driven by a woman and speeding away.

Fairman said homicide detectives interviewed Hicks' son, who told them his mother was angry at Hayes because he had started a relationship with another woman and wanted her to leave the house.

After an argument in which Hayes swung at Hicks, she told her son she would find someone to hurt Hayes, Fairman said.

Police said Hicks turned to Gonzalez, a mechanic at a local garage where she and Hayes took their cars, because he often bragged about fixing things for people and collecting debts.

Hicks, now 58, was arrested in July 2012 after detectives found evidence of text messages and calls between Hicks and Gonzalez before Hayes' slaying.

By then Gonzalez had fled the country. He was arrested a year later in Honduras and returned to the United States for trial.

Hicks pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and conspiracy April 14 and will be sentenced June 27. She admitted providing Gonzalez with the gun to kill Hayes. Also, while Hayes was showering, she unlocked the door to Hayes' van so Gonzalez could ambush him.

Curiously, Hicks and Gonzalez never settled on how much he was to be paid for the job, Fairman said. He was supposed to take the victim's wallet and use the victim's ATM card toward payment. Gonzalez failed to take the wallet, and escaped to Honduras before arrangements could be made.


jslobodzian@phillynews.com

215-854-2985 @joeslobo

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