Alleged murderer called victim’s mother ‘mom’

Leticia Palacios shows a Mother’s Day present that her late son Julio gave her two years ago. Photo: Paula Moura.

Victim and alleged shooter were co-defendants in 2014 murder charge that was later dismissed

The mother of a Morrisania murder victim says she treated her son’s alleged killer like her own child, and he, in turn, called her Mom.

“Every time he’s come over he say, ‘Mom, I’m hungry,’ I cook something for him,” says Leticia Palacios, 62, speaking of Salim Wilson, who was arraigned Wednesday for the second-degree murder of his friend, Palacios’s son Julio Velasquez.

On the evening of August 29, 24-year-old Velasquez was shot on the eighth floor of the building next to the one where he lived with his family, in McKinley Houses. He was brought to Lincoln Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Velasquez and Wilson, 25, were co-defendants in a 2014 murder charge. They spent over two years in separate jails before all charges were dismissed. Now, Velasquez is dead and Wilson is being charged with his murder.

“He gonna pay, he gonna pay,” said Palacios, a native of Honduras, of Wilson. “If he was friend or he was brother, why he don’t come over here to say something to me? Why he don’t come over here to say, ‘Oh, OK, I’m so sorry that happened to Julio’? He never come over here.”

Palacios said she even visited her son’s alleged killer while he was in Rikers Island for the previous charge, though her son was in a different jail.

After their previous case was dropped last year, Wilson and Velasquez brought suits against two police officers, David Terrell and Daniel Brady, whom they accuse of having pressured witnesses into identifying them as the culprits, according to the New York Daily News. Wilson and Velasquez were both paid different amounts of pre-settlement funding by a firm called LawCash, according to the New York Post.

Wilson’s lawyer, Dawn Florio, says that the night of the murder, her client was at the building where Velasquez was shot but left beforehand.

Recently Palacios visited the building to see the site of her son’s murder.

“I go over there like three weeks ago. To feel it,” she said. “In my mind he’s not dead.”