A man who was arrested mid-November in connection with the hit-and-run death of a 67-year-old Marine veteran has been determined to be in the country illegally.
Federal immigration officials identified Nemias Perez Severiano, 31, as “an illegally present Mexican national,” which led to a detainer being lodged by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Under this policy, ICE can assume custody of Severiano if he were to be released.
On Nov. 10, Severiano allegedly struck and killed Samuel W. Jackson, a Vietnam veteran, as he exited his parked car in front of his Norristown, Pennsylvania, home.
Surveillance footage from the area, along with debris that matched the Toyota Scion allegedly being driven by Severiano, painted a gruesome picture of Jackson’s final moments.
On Nov. 10, as Marines everywhere celebrated the service’s 244th birthday — the first of which took place in historic Tun Tavern just about 20 miles from Jackson’s home — his family began preparations for an unexpected funeral.
Detectives allege Jackson was struck by the front of the Toyota and dragged more than 50 feet, the Norristown Times Herald reported.
Jackson was subsequently transported to Mercy Suburban Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Hours after Jackson’s body was taken away, a tow truck came to remove the veteran’s car, a Marine Corps sticker adorning its bumper.
Jackson’s slippers and glasses remained strewn across the street.
Once in police custody, Severiano allegedly told detectives he had consumed seven to eight beers earlier that day and was still “a little drunk” approximately 30 minutes before he drove by Jackson’s home and “heard a noise.”
Investigators determined Severiano did not have a valid license.
Jackson, who was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps as a corporal in 1971, was buried Saturday in a dress blue uniform — and a jar of black sand from Iwo Jima — that was donated by Doug Franks, a Marine veteran and senior vice commander at a VFW post in the neighboring town of Trappe, Pennsylvania.
“No one deserves to die like that," Franks told CBS Philly. “He was very proud of his service for very good reason.”
Franks’ donation was the result of the local VFW 1074′s call for uniform items after news of the veteran’s death spread.
“Just to know that he is going to be in his military uniform is a blessing," the Marine veteran’s sister, Peggy Jackson, told CBS Philly.
“My brother’s other family, the Marine family. My God, he loved the Marines.”
Severiano has been charged with causing an accident involving death or personal injury while not properly licensed, careless and reckless driving, failure to provide immediate notice of the accident and failure to stop and render aid.
He is currently being held at Montgomery County Correctional Facility, where his bail has been set at $200,000. He is scheduled to appear Friday in Montgomery County District Court for a preliminary hearing.