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Giants official: Top prospect charged with murder

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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP)

A top prospect for the San Francisco Giants has been stripped of his U.S. visa after he was charged with killing a man in his Caribbean homeland. Pablo Peguero, the Giants' representative for Latin America, said Friday that 19-year-old Angel Villalona can't join the team in the United States because the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic has revoked his visa. Dominican prosecutor Jose Antonio Polanco said Tuesday that Villalona offered the family of the man he allegedly killed nearly $140,000 to drop the case against him. He alleged the first baseman paid $55,000 and expected to offer another $83,000. Polanco said the family viewed the payment as compensation for the killing of 25-year-old Mario Felix de Jesus Velete. The family has not returned repeated calls seeking comment. Villalona, who has pleaded innocent to the murder charge, also has declined to speak to reporters. Police say Villalona, who received a $2.1 million signing bonus in his 2006 deal with the Giants, turned himself in 12 hours after the Sept. 19 bar shooting in La Romana. He could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty. Villalona was released last week on $14,000 bail after the family issued a statement saying it had accepted the money, Polanco said. A Dominican judge is expected to hear the case in about a month. Villalona hit .267 with nine homers and 42 RBIs in 74 games for Class-A San Jose this season. Baseball America selected him as the Giants' top prospect before the 2008 season, and the 6-foot-3, 200-pound slugger was selected for the Futures Game during All-Star festivities that year.
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