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Posted on: June 28, 2023

North Carolina Man Convicted of Murder in 2021 Hempstead Ambush Shooting

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Ruben Diego Avila Huicab planned and carried out the murder of 40-year-old Ricardo Cardona because of a work dispute

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced that a North Carolina man was convicted by a jury yesterday of murdering a 40-year-old man in Hempstead outside of his home in January 2021.

Ruben Diego Avila Huicab, 33, was convicted after a jury trial before Judge Meryl Berkowitz of Murder in the Second Degree (an A-I felony) and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (a C violent felony). 

The trial began on June 13, 2023, and the jury deliberated for approximately two hours before delivering their verdict. The defendant is due back for sentencing on August 22, 2023, when he faces a potential maximum of 40 years to life in prison. 

“This defendant orchestrated the murder of Ricardo Cardona, repeatedly threatening to kill the victim over the course of two weeks, even texting Ricardo on the day of his murder to ‘say your goodbyes to everyone,’” said DA Donnelly. “Ricardo held onto the defendant’s tools to ensure he received pay that he was owed, and he was senselessly murdered for it. I thank the jury for their service and for finding the defendant responsible for committing this heinous crime.”

DA Donnelly said that, according to the trial testimony, on January 12, 2021, at approximately 8:33 p.m., Avila Huicab and a then 16-year-old co-defendant both drove in separate vehicles to the intersection of Dakota Place and Vermont Avenue in Hempstead where the victim, 40-year-old Ricardo Cardona, lived. 

The defendant and the victim had been engaged in an ongoing dispute over payment for construction work that Cardona had done working for Avila Huicab and work tools that he had not returned.

On the night of the murder, Avila Huicab provided the teen with a tech 9-a semi-automatic pistol and told him to wait in the defendant’s van, which the teen was driving, while he contacted Cardona and convinced him to come outside to the vehicle. 

When Cardona approached the van, the teenager fired at the victim seven times, striking him five times, including in his neck and chest. Avila Huicab and the teen then fled the scene.

Police arrived at Dakota Place within minutes of the shooting and pronounced Cardona deceased.

Avila Huicab and his co-defendant were arrested in Maryland by local authorities on January 21, 2021.

Senior Litigation Counsel Michelle Lewisohn of the Homicide Bureau is prosecuting the case. Avila Huicab is represented by Lori Golombek, Esq. 



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