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Posted on: June 30, 2021

MS-13 Member Pleads Guilty in 2016 Machete Murder in Massapequa Preserve

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Ponce expected to receive life sentence for his role in the murder 

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Acting Nassau County District Attorney Joyce A. Smith announced the guilty plea of an alleged MS-13 member for his role in the brutal murder of a Uniondale teenager in Massapequa Park Preserve in 2016. 

Samuel Ponce, a/k/a Little Chickie, 20, of Hempstead, pled guilty Tuesday before Judge Helene Gugerty to murder in the second degree (an A-I felony). The maximum sentence for the defendant is 15 years to life in prison because at the time of the crime he was 15 years old. Ponce is expected to be sentenced to 9 years to life in prison on August 25, 2021. The NCDA recommended a sentence of 11 years to life in prison. 

“Bryan Lemus was just 18 years old when he was viciously attacked and violently murdered with machetes by the defendant and multiple MS-13 members,” Acting DA Smith said. “The Nassau County District Attorney’s Office has for years been committed to prosecuting the brutal crimes of members of MS-13, to rid gang violence from the streets of Nassau County and secure justice for the victims and their families. I thank our partners at the Nassau County Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, and FBI Long Island Gang Task Force for their assistance in this case.”

Acting DA Smith said that on August 23, 2016, victim Bryan Steven Cho Lemus, a perceived enemy of MS-13, was walking his dog on Arthur Street in Uniondale when he was lured into the Massapequa Preserve. While inside the park, Lemus was allegedly killed with machetes by Ponce and other members of MS-13. 

Lemus’ body was found on May 24, 2019, in a shallow grave inside the Massapequa Preserve by members of the Nassau County Police Department’s Homicide Bureau during a canvass of the area.

Ponce was arrested by the NCPD on September 17, 2019 following the investigation. 

Jared Rosenblatt, Chief of the Homicide Bureau, is prosecuting the case with assistance from Katie Zizza, Deputy Chief of the Vehicular Crimes Bureau, and Patrick Brand, Senior Investigative Counsel in the Major Crimes Bureau. The defendant is represented by Dennis Lemke, Esq. 

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