CENTRAL ISLIP, NY (PIX11) — An MS-13 member pleaded guilty Tuesday to two murders; both victims were hacked to death with machetes.
Jonathan Hernandez, 24, and others beat 29-year-old Michael Johnson with a baseball bat, stabbed him with a knife and took turns hacking at him with a machete in a Jan. 28, 2016 attack, prosecutors said. Several months later in April of 2016, Hernandez helped kill 19-year-old Oscar Acosta.
“It is evident by these incomprehensible crimes, that MS-13 members have zero regard for human life and their violence has no limits,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison said.
Before Johnson’s death, MS-13 leaders had been marked as “food,” which meant the gang members planned to have him killed, officials said. Johnson was lured to a wooded area in Brentwood before he was killed.
MS-13 members had designated Johnson as “food” because they thought they recognized him as a member of a rival gang. MS-13 members decided to kill Acosta because they thought he was associating with a rival gang.
Acosta was beaten unconscious in a wooded section of Brentwood, prosecutors said. His hands and feet were bound. Gang members loaded him into a car trunk, then drove to an area near an abandoned psychiatric hospital. Once there, Acosta was carried into the woods and killed. His body was buried in a shallow grave.
Hernandez faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Officials have not yet said when he’ll be sentenced.