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Posted on: September 6, 2018

Alleged MS-13 Member Arraigned on Murder Charge for 2016 Death of Acquaintance

Jose Lopez

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney announced today that an alleged member of the MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha) gang was arraigned today on a grand jury indictment charge as a participant in the murder of 19-year-old Josue Amaya Leonor.

Jose Daniel Lopez, 19, was arraigned today before Judge Felice Muraca and charged with Murder in the Second Degree (an A-I felony). The defendant pleaded not guilty, was remanded and is due back in court September 25. If convicted of the top count, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

“The defendant and MS-13 accomplices allegedly lured a 19-year old man, who they believed to be a rival gang member, into the woods where they viciously hacked him to death with a machete,” DA Singas said. “We continue to vigorously investigate this case as part of our multi-front assault on this violent gang, and additional arrests are expected soon.”

DA Singas said that on September 4, 2016, Jose Daniel Lopez – and other MS-13 members and/or associates – allegedly struck Josue Amaya Leonor with a machete multiple times, killing him. Lopez, a member of MS-13’s Hollywood Clique, and the other defendants allegedly buried Leonor’s body, which was recovered on May 30, 2018, in a wooded area of the Roosevelt Preserve.  

It is alleged that that Leonor, who MS-13 members believed to be a member a rival gang, was lured to the reserve with the promise of marijuana and had been targeted as an enemy of the gang.

The defendant was arrested by members of the Nassau County Police Department on June 14, 2018.

The NCDA thanks Homeland Security Investigations and the NCPD for their assistance in this case.

Assistant District Attorney Jared Rosenblatt, Deputy Chief of DA Singas’ Major Offense Bureau, is prosecuting this case. The defendant is represented by Jeff Groder, Esq.

The charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.


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