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Posted on: August 25, 2021

MS-13 Member Sentenced to Life in Prison for Massapequa Preserve Murder

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Samuel Ponce took part in the Machete killing of 18-year old Bryan Lemus

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Acting Nassau County District Attorney Joyce A. Smith announced a Hempstead MS-13 member was sentenced today to nine years to life in prison for his role in the murder of a Uniondale teenager in Massapequa Park Preserve in 2016. 

Samuel Ponce, a/k/a Little Chickie, 20, of Hempstead, pled guilty on June 28, 2021 before Judge Helene Gugerty to murder in the second degree (an A-I felony). The defendant was sentenced today to nine years to life in prison. NCDA had recommended a sentence of 11 years to life in prison. The maximum sentence for the defendant was 15 years to life in prison because at the time of the crime he was 15 years old. 

“Bryan Lemus’ life was violently cut short when he was ambushed and murdered with machetes by Samuel Ponce and other members of MS-13,” said Acting DA Smith. “NCDA continues its work to rid Nassau County of this ruthless gang violence and ensure that these dangerous individuals are taken off our streets. 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, prosecuted 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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