James Blanco Murder: Where is Rafael Apolinar Now? – ‘Vengeance: Killer Coworkers: Body in the Bathtub,‘ an episode on Investigation Discovery, tells the heartbreaking story of James Blanco of Fresno, California, who gave his all to trying to make the world a better place. He hired parolees and gang members to give them a second chance at living a good life. His generosity was returned in June 2011 with bullets, and his family had to wait five years before his attacker was incarcerated. We’ve got your back if you wish to learn the killer’s name and current whereabouts. So let’s investigate it, shall we?
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Why Did James Blanco Pass Away?
Modesto Blanco and Hortencia Miranda welcomed James Blanco into the world on December 14, 1981, in Fresno, California. The 29-year-old was a manager at Pleasant Mattress, a local mattress store, where he had begun at the bottom and worked his way up. The kind-hearted James used to hire several ex-gang members and parolees using his managerial position to give them a chance to improve their lives. Ricardo Garcia, James’ brother, reflected, “The list can probably very well go into the hundreds of opportunities he’s given.”
He might have lost his life, though, because of his sincerity. Around 11:45 p.m. on June 30, 2011, James was shot while he was in the shower at his southeast Fresno home. Cynthia stayed at his house and dozed off in the adjacent room. The gunshots woke her up, and she found James’ body in the restroom. When the police came, they discovered eight shell shells that were still fresh outside the bathroom window, along with 4 bullet holes in the screen.
Additionally, a spent shell casing was discovered beneath the victim’s body, suggesting that the assailant may have shot the victim by sticking their hand through the glass. According to James’ autopsy report, he suffered two gunshot wounds, one on his left back and one on the back of his left shoulder, just above his armpit. In addition, the medical examiner discovered “stippling, burned and unburned gunpowder,” proving that James had been shot closely, putting the gun’s muzzle close to his skin.
Who Killed James Blanco and Why?
Rafael Apolinar, a former Pleasant Mattress employee, was let off by James in March 2011 due to his incompetence and disdain towards superiors. Rafael had changed jobs but was said to still harbour hatred for James. He ran and encountered James Blanco’s brother, Harvey Blanco, on June 30, 2011, got into a verbal altercation with him, and even allegedly threatened to hurt James. Harvey understandably cited Rafael as a potential suspect in his brother’s murder.
The truck neighbours claimed to have seen following the gunshots were described to detectives as they canvassed the area. Rafael was questioned after the police stopped his car on purpose on July 2, 2011, as the description matched the one that belonged to his vehicle. On August 3, 2011, he willingly travelled to the Fresno Sheriff’s Department’s main office for more interrogation. Rafael vehemently denied it and said he was lying when Andrew Macias, one of his friends, was alleged to have seen him shoot James.
After being detained, Rafael said that he had intended to shoot James but had not intended to “necessarily kill” him. He stressed that he was constantly in his truck and that Andrew, not him, had shot James. The police raided Rafael’s residence on August 10, 2011, and they found a pair of gloves that had been “in the area of the firing of a handgun,” according to a positive gunshot residue test.
Where is Rafael Apolinar Now?
Rafael Apolinar testified in his defence in April 2016 and said he was intoxicated at the time of the incident. In part, yes, he said in testimony. I was a little buzzed. I was constantly unsure of what I was doing. He reiterated his statement, saying that although he had planned to kill his old boss, his friend actually did it. I didn’t want to kill him, Rafael repeated. He had been accused of both first-degree murder and firing a gun.
The Blanco family was present for the trial in the courtroom.
Ricardo Garcia, his brother, said: “We are just glad we are in the courtroom. Its been five long years and we are finally at the point where we get to hear the verdict from the jury and get closure. It’s something we’ve sought for the last five years.”
Rafael was found guilty of the murder charge by the jury, but the firearms enhancement charge was later withdrawn. Rafael received a sentence of 25 years to life in prison in June 2016. In January 2020, he filed an appeal against his conviction, but it was denied. According to official court records, the 32-year-old is currently completing his sentence at the Chuckawalla Valley State Prison in Blythe, California. The earliest he can be released on parole is in August 2029.