Three weeks ago, Frank Farias, an airman stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque was arrested for murder. Dallas police had issued a warrant that accused him of first-degree murder in the January 25 death of Marlon Alfaro, 23, outside a Lower Greenville club. Farias spent last week in the Dallas County jail on $150,000 bond.
But this morning, the 23-year-old Farias sat in his lawyer's sun-filled office in Uptown ready to tell his side of the story. In it, he is more of a witness than a killer. His lawyer, Frank Jackson, said this was the sole interview Farias would grant to the media.
Farias wore a crisp yellow button-down shirt tucked into starched blue jeans. He told his lawyer he would shave his goatee before returning to base, where he has been a member of the 377th Medical Support Squadron since August 2006.
Farias, a thin man with sunken eyes and slow-moving hands, described himself as calm and a homebody. The 23-year-old mostly kept to his reputation, although he twice let escape an extensive quiver in his voice.
Farias said the evening was a case of "being in the wrong place at the wrong time," and that he has never been in a fight before.
At midnight, he says, he drove to a friend's house to hang out. His friend was worried about his buddies being jumped that night at Sekret Lounge. "He wanted to go over there and get them, but he was drunk," said Farias. "So I was like, 'I'll drive you over there, we'll get em, come back and I'll go home.'"
It wasn't that simple.
When Farias and his friend arrived, he says, they could not reach by phone the guys they had come to pick up. After the club closed, at 2 a.m., they spotted their friends. One got out, while Farias stayed in the car listening to music, he says, when a fight broke out in front of him. A man Farias says he didn't recognize was being beat up. Farias claims he told them to stop.
"I'm yelling at them to leave the guy alone and my friend jumps back in the car," Farias said. They wanted to get out of there, he insists, but there was no clear way out of the parking lot. "I couldn't drive forward because there was some cars parked over there, and couldn't go that way because that guy's just got beat up and he's trying to get up. So I backed up and went towards the right. When I did that, the car went over the guy that was lying on the floor, which I didn't know he was there."
When he realized he had run somebody over, he says, "I wanted to throw up."
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The pair got out of the car to see what had happened, he claims, only to realize a man was under the car. Farias insists they tried to get him out. "His friend comes over that just got beat up too and he's trying to fight us instead of help us," the airman says. "The next thing you know we just hear people start screaming, 'Pop the trunk.' When I hear that, I automatically think, 'Go get the guns.'"
It was his friend, says Farias, who then jumped into the driver's seat and ran over the man again. Farias says he then jumped in the car and they left.
Farias learned the next day that the man was dead. He struggles to describe it: "Right there, it just flipped everything around. I couldn't think about it anymore."
The Dallas Police Department issued the warrant for his arrest, but he will be allowed return to work in the meantime. He could be indicted for murder or for a lesser offense. He could be cut loose. His passenger, the one who he claims drove over the man the second time, has not been apprehended.