A New York man prepared to testify in opposition to MS-13 members who attacked him in 2018 was discovered lifeless earlier this week after his id was disclosed to defendants’ attorneys in pre-trial proceedings, police say.
The bludgeoned physique of 36-year-old Wilmer Maldonado Rodriguez was discovered Sunday exterior an deserted dwelling in New Cassel, the Nassau County Police Division introduced Wednesday. Investigators mentioned Rodriguez in October 2018 got here to the protection of two boys who had been being threatened by the gang — solely to be overwhelmed with a bat and stabbed, in accordance with Newsday.
“This brave man was ready to testify in opposition to his alleged assailants at an upcoming trial, however he was brutally overwhelmed to dying earlier than he may,” Nassau County District Lawyer Madeline Singas mentioned in an announcement supplied to the newspaper.
“This case underscores the significance of safeguarding the identities of witnesses and victims of crime and our hearts are with Mr. Maldonado’s household and buddies as we grieve his loss.”
Singas says prosecutors tried to maintain Rodriguez’s id secret by acquiring a protecting order in December 2018.
However final December, forward of looming adjustments to New York’s prison justice system, together with reforming the pre-trial discovery section – throughout which prosecutors reveal proof to the protection for preparation – the choose within the case issued a brand new order.
It allowed “for the disclosure of the protected information to defense counsel,” Newsday experiences. The choose’s order, it added, required attorneys for 2 defendants to not reveal Rodriguez’ s title to their shoppers till the trial’s begin date of Jan. 6.
Nonetheless, Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder mentioned Wednesday that the trial was delayed.
“We don’t know if the defense counsel turned that information over to the defendants, but we do know that right after that time period… started this pattern of intimidation,” Ryder mentioned.
He told reporters Wednesday that one other witness on the case was shot at in New Cassel on Jan. 30.
“On February 1st, 2020, Wilmer, our now victim, deceased, was also beaten on and he escaped from there,” Ryder mentioned. “Then on February 2nd, we found Mr. Rodriguez’s body.”
“The individuals whoever did this attack, we believe had received that information,” Ryder concluded, referring to Rodriguez’s id. He famous that the investigation into Rodriguez’s killing is ongoing and no suspects have been recognized.
Each attorneys, although, are denying that they disclosed any names of witnesses or victims to their shoppers.
“I never gave him the name of those people. And he never asked me for it,” lawyer Greg Madey, who’s representing 20-year-old Denis Pineda, informed Newsday. “I’m offended by the allegation that Denis Pineda had something to do with orchestrating this murder.”
Justin Feinman, who’s representing 19-year-old Elian Ramos Velasquez, informed Newsday that “at this point to say that it was a defense attorney that leaked without more information is completely inappropriate.”
“I feel horrible that this happened,” Feinman added. “This should have never happened. I just don’t see how you can blame a particular judge or attorney.”
The trial Rodriguez was speculated to testify in is ready to start someday this week, Ryder mentioned Wednesday.