Two members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang were convicted on all counts for a fatal shooting in Hempstead in March 2017.
Carlos Flores, 26, of Hempstead and Pedro Rivera, 25, undomiciled, were convicted on Monday, Aug. 12 by a jury of:
- Murder in the second degree (an A-I felony)
- Conspiracy in the first degree (an A-I felony)
- Two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree (a C violent felony)
The trial before Judge Terence Murphy, lasted approximately one month and the jury deliberated for two days. The defendants are due back in court Sept. 30 and each face a total maximum of 65 years to life in prison.
“Today’s verdict ensures that these MS-13 murderers will be held accountable for the cold-blooded murder of Nelson Rodriguez,” Nassau County DA Madeline Singas said. “MS-13 is on the run because of the relentless and collaborative work of law enforcement at every level, and this case sends a clear message that those who commit this kind of heinous crime will be facing the full weight of our justice system.”
Singas said that on March 20, 2017, the defendants acting in concert with each other and others – drove from Hempstead to Uniondale looking for a member of the 14th Street gang to shoot and kill. The defendants sought to kill a rival gang member in retaliation for an assault on an MS-13 member.
Eventually, after circling the area several times, the group spotted the victim, 39-year-old Nelson Rodriguez, of Hempstead, who was walking home from his job in an auto body shop westbound on Front Street. Though Rodriguez was not a member of the 14th Street gang, Flores allegedly ordered Rivera – who was armed with a gun – to kill the victim because he was a perceived enemy of MS-13.
Rivera exited the vehicle and began walking on Front Street towards the victim. Rivera passed the victim and then turned around and shot Rodriguez once in the head and once in the back after he fell to the ground.
Multiple witnesses immediately called 911 and the victim was transported to Nassau County University Medical Center where he later passed away. Following an extensive investigation, Rivera was arrested on July 18, 2017 and Flores was arrested October 19, 2018 by members of the Nassau County Police Department’s Homicide Squad.
Co-defendant Hector Lazo’s case is pending sentence.
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