A 22-year-old Arlington man was killed last month after he was forced to get a tattoo of his girlfriend’s name on his neck and a separate tattoo on his back was inked out, police said.
Investigators say five people, including the girlfriend, were involved in the bizarre crime. Four of them have been arrested.
The saga started the night of Feb. 1 when Younis Alhassinyani was visiting his girlfriend’s Arlington apartment for a late-night tattoo session, according to the suspects’ arrest warrants.
Alhassinyani was found by highway workers in a culvert near State Highway 360 and Harwood Road in Euless. He had been shot once in his neck, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner.
Court records reviewed by NBC 5 detail his harrowing ordeal and how detectives spent weeks zeroing in on four gunmen and the girlfriend, Erika Perez.
Perez started the night by broadcasting a video on Facebook Live, inviting people to her apartment on Center Street for a tattoo.
Perez invited a tattoo artist over and was soliciting customers. The price: $500 for a “tap out session.”
U.S. & World
In the video, she explained that meant customers could get as many tattoos as they could stand.
“There’s tats going on over here guys,” she said. “Whoever wants to get tatted up. My favorite and best tattoo artist is here. But you have to come with money.”
The only people who showed up, police say, were the tattoo artist and the killers.
For Euless police, it began as a mystery.
Workers for the Texas Department of Transportation found a young man’s body in the early afternoon of Feb. 4 and notified police.
He was found face down in a culvert, police said.
But at first, investigators had little to go on – not even a name.
Euless detectives reached out to surrounding police departments to see if the body matched any reports of missing persons.
Arlington police quickly responded with a promising lead.
The body and clothing – a red long-sleeved shirt and gray jogging shorts -- matched Alhassinyani, who had attended Summit High School in Mansfield and worked at tire shops.
His family, natives of Kurdistan, had reported him missing a few days earlier and was trying desperately to find him.
The following account of the investigation comes from arrest warrants and other court documents.
When Alhassinyani disappeared, his family feared the worst.
They told Arlington police Alhassinyani had been hanging out recently at his girlfriend’s apartment.
Detectives started focusing on Perez, who had a long criminal record, worked at a used car lot and went by the name Pinky.
Perez, 28, spoke with detectives at Arlington police headquarters and claimed she kicked Alhassinyani out of her apartment about midnight the night he disappeared after they got in an argument.
But detectives said they didn’t believe she was giving them the full story, and when they told Perez that her boyfriend had been murdered, she didn’t seem surprised, sad, or even curious.
They kept her cell phone as evidence but released her.
TATTOO ARTIST INTERVIEWED
Police later tracked down the tattoo artist who told a much different story than the girlfriend.
He told detectives he was giving a tattoo to a man he knew only as “Puppet” when Alhassinyani and Perez got in an argument.
An angry Perez ripped his shirt and put tape across his mouth, the artist said. Alhassinyani later removed the tape himself.
The artist also said Alhassinyani was there much longer than the girlfriend had claimed.
Detectives later identified Puppet as Benjamin Delgadillo, also from Arlington.
Meanwhile, detectives were combing through Perez’s cell phone and found a surprise video recorded later that night.
A FORCED TATTOO
As described in the arrest warrants, the video was recorded about 5:42 a.m. and showed an armed Delgadillo forcing Alhassinyani to lay face down, shirtless, on a massage table.
Delgaldillo, 21, took the tattoo gun from the artist and started “defacing” a tattoo on his back of a logo of the city of Arlington with the words “South Side” on each side.
“That is nice ass work,” Delgadillo said. “I am a real ass (expletive) from the south cuz.”
“Do it a little softer,” Alhassinyani pleaded on the video. “That s*** hurts.”
“Do it soft?” Delgadillo asked. “Yeah!”
He then “starts to run the tattoo gun harder over his back,” a detective wrote in Delgadillo’s arrest warrant.
“Ouch,” the girlfriend was heard saying. “Loyalty hurts more.”
“Hey, my bad, I am not a professional tattooer,” Delgadillo replied.
Police described the video in arrest warrants in detail but have not released it publicly.
The artist told investigators he was there just to make money and, noting Delgadillo was armed, didn’t want any trouble.
The artist said when Perez wanted her name on Alhassinyani’s neck, he did the tattoo fast.
‘WE WILL TAKE YOU HOME’
Three other men who also were armed showed up at the apartment and Delgadillo let them in, according to the artist’s account.
“Can I just call my mother to take me home?” Alhassinyani asked, according to the artist’s account.
“We will take you home,” one of the gunmen replied.
After his arrest, Delgadillo provided “multiple stories” but finally confessed to detectives he was a drug dealer, was there at the apartment that night and had “scribbled” across the tattoo on Alhassinyani’s back.
He said Perez took Alhassinyani’s cell phone and wallet and gave it to one of the other gunmen.
“Whatever you do to him, don’t do it here,” she told them, according to Delgadillo.
The four gunmen loaded into a Dodge Challenger, with Alhassinyani in the back, and drove up Highway 360 to Euless.
They ordered Alhassinyani out of the car.
He refused to get out at first but had no choice.
One of the gunmen, Justin Jaxs Salinas, pulled out a Glock pistol and shot him, according to Delgadillo.
They sped away but soon returned and pulled the body away from the highway and closer to a nearby creek, he told detectives.
After leaving the scene, Salinas stayed in Arlington and the other three then drove to Wichita Falls, where one of them, Pedro Rodriguez, had a “trap house.”
Rodriguez was the driver and it was his Challenger, police said.
He was arrested Feb. 25 after he led officers on a chase in Wichita Falls.
Salinas, 22, also was arrested.
Salinas, Rodriguez and Delgadillo were booked into the Tarrant County jail on capital murder charges. Detectives are still trying to find the fourth gunman but believe they know who he is, according to Euless police.
Perez isn’t charged with murder but was booked for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, failure to report a felony, and making a false report to police.
The tattoo artist told police he didn’t know Alhassinyani was actually killed until he heard about a news report that his body was found.
NBC 5 is not reporting the artist’s name because he isn’t accused of any crime.
SUSPECTS’ CRIMINAL RECORDS
All the suspects have criminal records.
Most notably, Rodriguez, 21, was previously charged with murder when he was just 16 years old.
He was accused of stabbing to death 27-year-old Franscico Lopez in front of a South Arlington house in March 2016.
In certifying Rodriguez as an adult in the case, the judge noted he was on juvenile probation at the time for burglary, criminal trespass, possession of marijuana, and assault causing bodily injury.
A grand jury decided not to indict Rodriguez on the murder charge in December 2016. Grand jury records are typically secret and details of the case are not included in public court documents.
Less than three months later, Rodriguez was arrested for burglary, theft of a firearm, engaging in organized crime and evading arrest. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
Rodriguez’s attorney, Brian Salvant, did not return an email seeking comment.
Salinas, the alleged gunman who police say shot Allhassinyani, was arrested in 2015 – at age 17 -- for aggravated robbery, according to Tarrant County court records.
Salinas pleaded guilty to the charge in January 2017 and Judge Scott Wisch sentenced him to deferred adjudication and 10 years of community supervision. If he stayed on the right path, his record would be wiped clean.
But after two months, he stopped reporting to his supervision officer as required, according to records.
In September 2017, Judge Wisch modified his conditions of community supervision. It’s unclear what the change was.
But in 2018, Salinas went on to commit more crimes, prosecutors said, including another robbery and drug possession. A warrant was issued for his arrest. But police never found him until after the Euless murder.
Salinas’ attorneys, D. Miles Brissette and J. Warren St. John, said they look forward to “our day in court to defend our client against these very serious accusations.”
Perez has a series of arrests dating to 2012 for drug possession and theft.
She was just arrested in Alhassinyani’s case last week and does not yet have an attorney, according to court records.
Delgadillo appears to have the shortest criminal record among the suspects. He was arrested for marijuana possession in December 2018 and spent one night in jail, according to court records.
His attorney, Steve Gordon, declined to comment.