A Warren County man suspected of paying another man to kill his girlfriend’s father made his first court appearance Monday afternoon.
Antonio Marsonel Wilson, 40, of Smiths Grove, was arraigned on charges of murder by complicity, tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse.
The charges arose from the death of Smajo Miropija, whose body was found Feb. 8 at Mega Transport on Porter Pike.
Attorneys Rob Eggert and Ted Shouse, representing Wilson, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
Warren Circuit Judge John Grise set a bond hearing for Aug. 30.
Wilson is accused of engaging Jeffery Smith in a conspiracy to kill Miropija, 49, of Bowling Green.
According to an arrest warrant, Smith’s girlfriend told law enforcement she was present during a conversation between Smith and Wilson in which she heard Wilson solicit Smith to “get someone out of their life.”
Another court filing alleges that Wilson and Miropija had been in a prior physical altercation.
Court records indicate that Miropija was strangled. His body had been badly burned when it was found by the Bowling Green Police Department.
Smith, 46, of Bowling Green, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, tampering with physical evidence and receiving stolen property. He will return to court Oct. 14.
Wilson, who has two other active cases against him in Warren Circuit Court, is being held in Warren County Regional Jail under a $500,000 cash bond.
City police made contact with Wilson on Feb. 9, the day after the homicide, at which point he declined to speak with officers but said he would come in later that day for questioning.
After a number of unsuccessful attempts to subsequently contact him, police learned Feb. 11 that he had made a trip to Chicago the previous day and flew from there to the Philippines, with a scheduled return date of March 1, according to court records.
Wilson did not return as scheduled and he was arrested March 27 in the Philippines. He was extradited to the U.S. late last month.
Eggert said in court that Wilson denies making any payment to Smith.
Eggert also said the trip to the Philippines had been “pre-planned” and denied allegations that Wilson attempted to fight extradition.
“He was held in very difficult conditions there,” Eggert said. “He was seeking to come back immediately.”
During Monday’s hearing, Eggert said Wilson was capable of posting a $200,000 cash bond.
Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron said in court that investigation found that Wilson had also purchased, but did not use, flight tickets to San Francisco for Feb. 13-17 and that the flight tickets to the Philippines were bought after he spoke with police.
Cohron said there was “significant, compelling evidence” supporting the allegations and questioned how Wilson could post a significant bond.
“We don’t know of any lawful employment that would justify his level of assets,” Cohron said.
In addition to the charges arising from Miropija’s death, Wilson is charged in separate indictments with possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, second-degree assault (domestic violence), first-degree wanton endangerment, trafficking in marijuana (less than eight ounces) and possession of drug paraphernalia.