Saturday, December 3, 2022

Details Surrounding Tri-Cities Murder Of MMA Fighter Emerge

A witness has claimed that an apparent MMA fighter launched a vicious attack prior to his Tri-Cities murder earlier this year.

On September 21, police were called to a home on the 3800 block of Fourth Avenue in Kennewick following reports that a man was on the ground and not breathing properly. The victim, 36-year-old MMA-trained fighter Fernando Pulido, was found with a gunshot wound to his stomach.

While Pulido was taken to Trios Southridge Hospital, he later died. The incident marked the 15th homicide in Benton County so far this year.

Per documents obtained by the Tri-Cities Herald, Pulido had a large amount of suspected methamphetamine on his person at the time of his death. It was also revealed that his home was under FBI surveillance at the time, for which no reason has been provided.

Following an investigation and accounts from witnesses, investigators made two arrests. Lonny Barton-Owens, 29, was apprehended and charged with second-degree murder, while the mother of his child, 31-year-old Rebecca Chavez, was charged with rendering criminal assistance.

“Probable cause was developed for the arrest of 29-year-old Lonny Barton-Owens,” the Kennewick Police Department wrote in a statement. “KPD detectives worked with the Benton County Prosecutor’s Office and an arrest warrant for the alleged crime of Murder 2nd Degree was issued for Lonny. On 10-31-2022 at approximately 3:30pm, the US Marshal Task Force located Lonny at a location in Pasco, WA.

“Lonny was taken into custody without incident and has been booked into the Benton County Jail for the Murder warrant. A female, 31-year-old Rebecca Chavez, was with Lonny and taken into custody. Rebecca was booked into the Benton County Jail for the alleged crime of Rendering Criminal Assistance 1st Degree.”

The pair were arrested on Monday and made court appearances the following two days, appearing in Benton County Superior Court from jail.

Lonny Barton-Owens

With new court documents, a clearer picture on the incident that went down on Sep. 21 has emerged, including the possible exchanges that sparked the events leading to Pulido’s killing.

Witness Claims MMA Fighter Began Crazed Attack Prior To Murder

While it’s said that a number of individuals who were at the scene admitted fear of revenge attacks should they speak out, one man agreed to cooperate conducive to a reduction on a possible sentence for a separate gun charge.

The witness told investigators that he and a number of others were playing darts in the living room, while Barton-Owens and an individual whom Pulido had previously attacked were in a “smoke room.”

Pulido is said to have arrived at the house and banged on the door, with an occupant unaware of the situation allowing the MMA fighter access. While one witness claimed to have attempted to prevent Pulido, whose street name was reportedly “Prophecy,” from continuing into the house, they said that he pushed past.

According to the documents, Pulido’s search for the man eventually led him to the room he was in, which was locked. After forcing his way in, the witness claimed that the 36-year-old began a vicious assault on the individual. They also noted that the victim of the attack had a bat with nails in, which was meant to protect him from another assault from Pulido.

The witness noted that Pulido was trained in mixed martial arts and was severely beating the man, having separated him from the bat. Barton-Owens left the room after attempting to stop the assault, returning with a firearm and shooting through the bedroom door, hitting Pulido.

The account matches up with information sent by an anonymous tipster, who told police that Barton-Owens fled in Pulido’s car following the shooting.

One month on from Pulido’s death, his sister took to Facebook to describe the grief she and her family are going through following her brother’s killing.

“Today marks one month since you were taken from us. I try to wrap my head around how this even happened? I try to convince myself it is just a nightmare we haven’t woken from. I try to be with mom the most I can so that we don’t drown in sorrow, more for me because I can’t accept the fact you’re gone. Your contagious laugh as kids lives in my memories and at times I feel you next to me. I’m trying my hardest to look at the bright side of things and the only thing I see is that you are in Heaven now with Grama away from this cruel world we live in. Save a spot next to you and grama for when I meet you two in Heaven. I’m sorry I wasn’t around more. I love you and I will make sure your memory lives on forever Fernando… Fly high dear Brother”

Fernando Pulido
Image Credit: Jo Lopez/Facebook