Suspect in Hilton Head bar fight in U.S. illegally

cconley@islandpacket.comApril 17, 2012 

Gerardo Hernandez-Maranon is charged of involuntary manslaughter after he punched another man in the face during a bar fight.

A man charged with involuntary manslaughter after a bar fight on Hilton Head Island that left another man dead is a Mexican citizen living illegally in the U.S., authorities said Tuesday.

U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement placed a "detainer" on Gerardo Hernandez-Maranon, 22, who was arrested Friday at his home at the Estate at Westbury. The action prevents his release from the Beaufort County Detention Center even if the charge against him is dropped.

"He is not going anywhere as long as there is an ICE hold on him," said Sgt. Robin McIntosh, Beaufort County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman. "Depending on the outcome of the criminal charges, he will still have to deal with the ICE portion of it, which could lead to his deportation."

Hernandez-Maranon is accused of punching Mario Hernandez-Hernandez in the face at Cabritos Restaurant on Mathews Drive at about 2 a.m. March 25. The punch caused Hernandez-Hernandez, 26, of Hilton Head to fall and hit his head on the pavement, the Sheriff's Office said.

The victim was driven home after the incident and went to sleep, but was transported to Hilton Head Hospital later that morning after his roommates found him having a seizure, McIntosh said. He died from severe head trauma on March 29 at St. Joseph's/Candler Health System in Savannah. The victim is also from Mexico, and his immigration status is unknown.

Deputies received a tip about the incident after the victim died; they were ultimately led to the suspect after speaking with witnesses, McIntosh said Friday. The Sheriff's Office hopes new witnesses will come forward, she said.

Investigators believe the fight began over comments the victim reportedly made to the suspect's girlfriend.

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