A 17-year-old MS-13 gang member will serve 50 years in prison for his involvement in the murder of a 14-year-old girl in Maryland last April.
Josue Fuentes-Ponce pleaded guilty on Oct. 30 to charges of first-degree murder, participating in the crime as part of a criminal gang, and conspiracy to commit murder, according to NBC Washington.
Prosecutors said gang members lured Ariana Funes-Diaz into a tunnel in Riverdale, Md., where they beat her to death with a machete and baseball bat on April 18, the outlet reported.
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“These individuals had demonstrated violent criminal behavior before, and because they were released in spite of the lawful detainer, they were afforded an opportunity to take a life.” ICE Baltimore Field Office Director Diane Witte previously said in the statement, according to Fox News.
Investigators say Fuentes-Ponce and three other gang members attack the victim to prevent her from informing police about a robbery they had taken part in a day prior.
Fuentes-Ponce reportedly used a machete during the attack that was so violent, police needed to use a tattoo on her right hand to identify her body, according to NBC Washington.
Her family reported her missing before she was found floating in a creek last May — nearly a month after she was killed — the outlet said.
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Co-defendant Joel Escobar pleaded guilty in November and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 26. A separate trial is scheduled for co-defendant Edwin Rios, 19 in April. The attorney for Feuntes-Ponce asked for leniency, according to the Washington Post, and said at the time of the incident, he had a cognitive level of a 9-year-old.
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The charges against the final member, a 14-year-old girl, were handled in juvenile court, the outlet said.
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain contributed to the report