MINEOLA, NY (PIX11) — As jury members were being selected for his trial, an MS-13 member pleaded guilty Monday to his role in two killings on the border of Nassau County and Queens, officials said.
Carlos Guerra, 22, pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter in the first degree and two counts of conspiracy in the second degree in connection with the December 2018 murders. He’s expected to face 28 years in prison.
Yonathan Sanchez and Elmer Gutierrez already pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and two counts of conspiracy in the case, Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly said. Another defendant, who was 15 at the time of the slayings, also pleaded guilty to a count of murder.
“Carlos Guerra and his co-defendants murdered two young men – within three days of each other – to move up the ranks of MS-13,” Donnelly said. “The victims in this case made the mistake of allegedly disrespecting MS-13 and were marked for death.”
On Dec. 15, 2018, a female defendant, a juvenile, lured 23-year-old Queens resident Ian Cruz to Bayswater Point State Park with the promise of sex and drugs, officials said. Sanchez, Guerra and the 15-year-old defendant hid in the park with knives. Once Cruz got there, Sanchez shot him four times in the head.
Cruz’ body was found the next day. He was in his underwear on top of a blanket.
Two days later on Dec. 17, 2018, the female defendant lured 17-year-old Harold Sermeno to the Five Towns Community Center in Lawrence, prosecutors said. They drank and smoked at a picnic table.
The five other defendants were waiting with guns and knives, officials said. Sanchez shot Sermeno four times in the head and once in the chest. Gutierrez slices the teen’s neck with a machete. All six defendants then fled.
Sermeno’s body was found the next day by someone walking a dog. He’d allegedly disrespected MS-13 before his murder. Cruz had also allegedly disrespected the gang before his murder.
The cases against two other juveniles arrested in connection with the deaths are pending.