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Suspect in Marine veteran's hit-and-run death is illegal immigrant

Nemias Perez Severiano, left, and Samuel W. Jackson.

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By ROBERT MORAN | The Philadelphia Inquirer | Published: November 16, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — Federal immigration officials say the man charged in the hit-and-run death of a 67-year-old Vietnam veteran in Norristown was in the country illegally, and have lodged what's known as an immigration detainer against him.

Nemias Perez Severiano, 31, of Norristown, was "an illegally present Mexican national," and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement lodged the detainer on Tuesday with the Norristown Police Department, ICE spokesperson Mary Houtmann said in an email on Friday.

According to ICE, the agency lodges detainers against people who have been arrested on criminal charges and are believed to be "removable aliens." A detainer asks another law enforcement agency to notify ICE in advance of that person's release and to hold that person until ICE can assume custody.

Perez Severiano is accused of driving the vehicle that fatally struck Samuel W. Jackson on Sunday.

On Wednesday, authorities announced that Perez Severiano had been arrested. He was charged with being involved with an accident causing death while not licensed, failing to stop and render aid, driving without a license, and related offenses, court records show.

District Judge Walter F. Gadzicki Jr. on Wednesday set his bail at $200,000, which was not posted. Perez Severiano was being held at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility.

His lawyer, Andrew Levin, said in an email, "Mr. Jackson's untimely death was a severe tragedy. The extent of Mr. Perez Severiano's involvement in the incident is not fully known at this time. Our sorrow and condolences are extended to the Jackson family."

Police said Jackson was hit just before 6:25 p.m. Sunday while standing next to his car in the 600 block of Astor Street. Jackson was transported to Mercy Suburban Hospital and pronounced dead at 6:59 p.m.

The Norristown Times Herald reported that the criminal complaint filed against Perez Severiano said he allegedly told police he had seven or eight beers while at La Poblanita restaurant and bar in Norristown and was "a little drunk."

Jackson, who was a Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam in 1970 and 1971 and was honorably discharged as a corporal, will be buried Saturday at Washington Crossing National Cemetery in a uniform donated by another Marine Corps veteran.

Jackson's family said they wanted military honors for his funeral but could not find his uniform.

The Conshohocken VFW Post 1024 posted a request on Facebook for a donated uniform and received an outpouring of offers. The donation ultimately was made by Richard Dunn of Conshohocken.

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