BOSTON – A Colombian fugitive who has been hiding for decades following the murder of his wife and attempted murder of his daughter has been living in Massachusetts under an alias, the FBI announced on Wednesday.
William Hernando Usma Acosta, 61, had been using the name of Carlos Alberto Rendon as he constructed a new life for himself. The fugitive’s undoing 27 years after the murder was his attempt to become a U.S. citizen, according to federal agents.
The FBI in Boston provided the following overview:
“William Hernando Usma Acosta, 61, who fled Colombia following the June 19, 1994, murder of his wife, Laura Rose Agudelo, in Medellin, Colombia, and the attempted murder of his daughter, has been residing in Belmont, Massachusetts, under the alias Carlos Alberto Rendon. The murder was the result of a domestic violence incident in which Usma Acosta shot and killed his wife, and then shot his daughter as she tried to intervene. He fled Colombia shortly after the incident and is the subject of an Interpol Red Notice
“In June of 2020, special agents with the FBI Boston Division’s Violent Crimes Task Force received information that Usma Acosta may be residing in the greater Boston area. The FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force tracked Usma Acosta’s whereabouts to his home in Belmont. He was arrested today without incident as he was heading into work in Waltham.”
The FBI noted that two years after Usma Acosta fled he was convicted and sentenced in absentia for aggravated murder, aggravated attempted murder, and illegal possession of a firearm, Law&Crime reported.
“On November 14, 1996, the Seventh Circuit Penal Court of Medellin, of the Government of Colombia, sentenced Usma Acosta to 45 years in prison on the charges of aggravated murder, aggravated attempted murder, and illegal possession of a firearm. … The Government of Colombia subsequently issued an international arrest warrant for Usma Acosta to serve his sentence.”
The FBI said Usma Acosta made it to Somerville, Massachusetts after illegally entering the U.S. via the Mexican border.
The fugitive “married an American citizen and obtained lawful, permanent resident status,” in 1998. He eventually moved from Somerville with his new wife and son to Belmont, Massachusetts, according to the FBI.
However, it was not until June 2020 that the federal government learned about the killer’s presence in the U.S. when he sought citizenship.
Usma Acosta “submitted his application” under the Rendon name “for naturalization to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,” and submitted fingerprints along with that application, the FBI noted.
“As part of that application, Rendon submitted a Colombian birth certificate and fingerprints. The FBI compared Rendon’s fingerprints against those of Usma Acosta which were provided by the Colombian National Police and determined they were an exact match. Investigators also determined that the Colombian birth certificate that Rendon submitted was fraudulent.”
Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division said in a statement that the “convicted cold-blooded killer […] needs to face justice for what he did.”
The U.S. plans to “remove Acosta from the United States for violating the conditions of his legal permanent residency status,” and hand him over to Colombian authorities. From there, Usma Acosta would begin serving a 28.5-year prison sentence (a reduction from what was originally a 45-year sentence), Law&Crime reported.
“Today’s arrest has ensured that this dangerous and convicted killer will face justice for his crimes,” said Todd M. Lyons, Field Office Director, Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Boston. “ERO Boston is proud to have been part of this joint effort with our federal partners. Acosta will no longer pose a threat to the residents of the Commonwealth thanks to the tireless efforts of an outstanding team of law enforcement professionals in both the United States and Colombia.”