01/04/11 10:56 PM EST
Lawyer for O's Simon confident client is innocent
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
"The ballistics tests have been favorable," lawyer Carlos Olivares told CNN in a telephone interview. "We are waiting for the formal report."
Oliveras has appealed Monday's decision to hold the 29-year-old Simon for a year, telling the news service that "we know that [Simon] had nothing to do with this victim." Police involved in investigations have expressed skepticism over the initial ballistics report and said that these cases usually take six months to fully look into.
Simon's cousin, Michael Esteban Castillo Almonte, was killed in the shooting, and Simon -- who turned in his gun on Monday -- told police he had been firing celebratory shots into the air and that Almonte's death and the wounding of his 17-year-old sibling were accidents. Oliveras has maintained that his client is innocent since Simon fired the gun into the air and the victim was struck in the chest.
Oliveras said Simon fired the gun into the air and then left the park where the killing occurred oblivious to what had happened.
"He understood that nothing had happened at the moment. And 45 minutes later, when he was eating at some restaurant or discotheque, somebody tells him, 'Hey, you're the one who killed so-and-so,'" Olivares said, according to accounts by the Dominican media.
"The fact is that in this incident, many people fired guns, but the only person who's been summoned for this is my client."
The wounded victim, Starlin Castillo Hernandez, told the Dominican daily El Nacional on Tuesday that it was indeed Simon who fired the fatal shot and the one that struck his right arm.
"If it's like he says, that he was firing into the air, then we must all have been sleeping," Hernandez, said with obvious sarcasm, according to the newspaper.
The ballistics report could be made official in the next day or two, and although it's been estimated that the prosecution will take several months to prepare its case against the athlete, Puerto Plata Province assistant district attorney Juan Carlos Hernandez told CNN they hope to move things along "as soon as possible."
"The Forensics Institute in Santo Domingo will collect and review ballistics evidence," Hernandez said.
"We will return to the crime scene to gather more evidence."
The Orioles have not commented publicly on the matter, but director of player development John Stockstill flew to the Dominican Republic on Monday with the intent of meeting with Simon, sorting through the facts and determining the proper course of action.
A native of Santiago, Simon was a key part of the O's bullpen last season in the wake of injuries to Koji Uehara, Michael Gonzalez and Jim Johnson. Simon's contract was purchased less than a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and he compiled 17 saves in 2010. He went 4-2 with a 4.93 ERA and was projected to compete for one of the final spots in the club's bullpen this year.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.