FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A Fort Wayne man who once stood trial for a killing in Wabash is now accused of being in the country illegally, according to U.S. District Court records.

A federal grand jury indicted 39-year-old Jose Guadalupe Maya-Sandoval on one count of being “a deported alien found in the United States” in late December, court records said.

Details about Maya-Sandoval’s case were released upon his arrest by the United States Marshals, who took him into custody in Fort Wayne late last month.

He now faces 10 years in prison or a $250,000 fine – or a combination of both.

Jose Maya-Sandoval, who once was implicated in a killing, is now accused of being in the U.S. illegally.
Jose Guadalupe Maya-Sandoval

Maya-Sandoval had been departed after a drunk driving conviction in Allen County in 2016, according to court documents. He turned up in the United States in 2019, though, as part of a homicide investigation in connection to the shooting death of Alexis Serrano.

Serrano had been found by some fisherman hiking on a trail in some woods in Wabash with two gunshot wounds to his head in the summer of 2018.

A roughly 7-month long investigation led to the arrests of Maya-Sandoval, who investigators said at the time was involved in the drug business, and 37-year-old Gerardo Ruiz-Aviles.

According to investigators, Maya-Sandoval and Ruiz-Aviles took Serrano into some woods just off of a friend’s property on June 2, 2018, shot him and left him there. They then both ditched their phones, ordered new phones on the same day and went about their lives.

Serrano was found four weeks later.

Both Maya-Sandoval and Ruiz-Aviles were ultimately charged with murder.

Gerardo Ruiz-Aviles

Maya-Sandoval was ordered to testify at Ruiz-Aviles’ trial in February 2022, but refused. Prosecutors tried to grant him immunity for his testimony. Still, he refused to answer questions, according to court records.

A Wabash Circuit Court judge then held Maya-Sandoval in contempt and ordered him to serve six months in jail – consecutive to any other sentence he might incur in his trial that had been scheduled for that summer.

A jury found Ruiz-Aviles guilty of murder and he was sentenced to 60 years in prison. His earliest possible release date is 2064, according to court documents.

In August, Maya-Sandoval found better fortune in the courtroom: A jury found him not guilty in the killing of Serrano.

He then served his six months in jail on the contempt charge and was released.

Maya-Sandoval is now being held in an undisclosed jail while prosecutors have argued he should not be released on bond because he is “a danger to the community and a flight risk,” according to court documents.

Maya-Sandoval was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday for a detention hearing.