Florida man charged in professor’s death

(U-WIRE) TUSCALOOSA, Ala.-A Florida man charged in the 1999 rock-throwing death of a University of Alabama professor was arrested Tuesday in Texas, almost a year after he jumped bail.

Jesus Dominquez, 18, of Ellenton, Fla., had been on the run for almost a year before he was captured by Brownsville, Texas, authorities say.

He faces second-degree murder charges in Manatee County, Fla. in the death of Julie Laible, a College of Education instructor who was killed instantly on March 28, 1999, when a teenager dropped a 22-pound piece of concrete on her car from an Interstate 75 overpass in Florida.

Prosecutors believe that Dominquez drove two teens, including the one who dropped the rock, to the scene of the crime.

Pending an extradition hearing, Dominquez is being held in Texas. Florida Assistant State Attorney Art Brown, who is handling the case, said the suspect could be back in Manatee County within a week if he waives extradition. However, if Dominquez contests the transfer, Florida authorities may have to wait months before getting him back in custody.

Upon his return to Florida, Dominquez will be arrested and will face an advisory hearing the following morning. Brown said he could not predict when Dominquez might face trial.

“That’s up to the judge, as to where he sets it on his calendar,” Brown said.

Dominquez is accused of driving Juan Cardenas, 18, and Noe Ramirez, 16, to the I-75 overpass where Cardenas dropped the concrete block.

Cardenas is serving life in prison for his role in Laible’s murder, while Ramirez served 58 days behind bars, after being convicted as a juvenile of culpable negligence in the professor’s death.