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Posted on: November 1, 2023

North Carolina Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life in Prison for 2021 Hempstead Murder

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Ruben Diego Avila Huicab was convicted after trial in June of the murder of 40-year-old Ricardo Cardona; Huicab had 16-year-old co-defendant kill Cardona after a work dispute

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced that a North Carolina man was sentenced yesterday to 40 years to life in prison for the murder of 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 on June 27, 2023, 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 defendant was sentenced Tuesday to 40 years to life in prison. The defendant received a sentence of 25 years to life in prison for the murder conviction, 15 years in prison to run consecutively for one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, and 15 years to run concurrently for the other count. 

“Ricardo Cardona was lured into an ambush and senselessly murdered because of a petty work dispute with the defendant,” said DA Donnelly. “Avila Huicab wrote increasingly threatening text messages to Cardona in the weeks before his death, ultimately providing the weapon used to shoot and kill the 40-year-old outside of his home. Today, Avila Huicab has been brought to justice.”

DA Donnelly said that, 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 for Avila Huicab and work tools that Cardona had not returned to Avila Huicab. 

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 his van, which the teen was driving, while Avila Huicab 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.

The 16-year-old co-defendant, who was charged as an adolescent offender, pleaded guilty to Murder in the Second Degree and is awaiting sentence. 

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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