At the conclusion of a trial lasting three weeks, a federal jury in Central Islip, N.Y., on Monday returned a guilty verdict convicting an MS-13 gang member of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and firearms offenses in connection with the execution-style killings of a 2-year-old boy and his mother.
The convicted murderer, Adalberto Ariel Guzman, also known as “Gringo,” is facing a sentence of life in prison as a result of his conviction, since the federal prosecutors did not seek the death penalty in the case, according to a New York police veteran who closely monitored the case.
"This double-murder case should have been a capital punishment case especially since an innocent baby was viciously murdered by a mobster who displayed extreme depraved indifference for human life. But that will never happen as long as political hacks run the Justice Department, especially when the Attorney General has a soft-spot in his heart criminal immigrants," said former homicide detective Saul Francis.
At trial, the government proved that the 21-year-old defendant carried out the execution-style murders of Vanessa Argueta, a 19-year-old woman, and Diego Torres, her 2-year-old son, in the town of Central Islip located on New York's Long Island, on Feb. 5, 2010.
The bodies of the mother and toddler were discovered in a secluded area in the woods, according to law enforcement officers.
The victims were each shot twice: Argueta had been shot once in the chest and then her head, while her baby received two shots to his head, according to testimony at trial.
The evidence shown to the jury revealed that it was Guzman who fired the fatal shot into toddler's head, and after committing the murders, he and two of his co-conspirators fled to El Salvador, from which MS-13 originated.
Guzman was arrested on May 17, 2010, in Miami, Fla., while he was attempting to reenter the United States, according to the FBI's New York Office.
Guzman conviction on Monday is the third that the prosecutors obtained in connection with the Argueta and Torres murders. Heriberto Martinez, also known as “Boxer,” was convicted in March 2013, following a six-week trial, and Rene Mendez Mejia, also known as “Zorro,” entered a guilty plea to the murders in June 2011.
“Guzman and his co-conspirators shot a young mother and her toddler in cold blood. Her crime in their eyes -- showing 'disrespect' to their vicious gang [Mara Salvatrucha]. Her child’s -- simply being with her when the defendant and his cronies decided that she [would] no longer live," said United States Attorney Loretta Lynch.
"Few other acts illustrate so clearly the heartless nature of this criminal enterprise known as MS-13. Guzman will now be held to account for his allegiance to this band of killers,” said Ms. Lynch.
Sentencing for Guzman is scheduled for Jan. 9, 2014, before United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco.