2 Alleged Gang Members Arrested in Brutal 2012 Slaying Month After Wrongly Accused Man Settles With City

Two alleged gang members have been arrested in connection with the brutal 2012 slaying of a 22-year-old man in a Bronx McDonald’s parking lot after another man was wrongly imprisoned for his death, the I-Team has learned.

Jose Rodriguez, 26, and Jesus Reyes, 24, were indicted Monday in the death of Hansell Arias who was seen on surveillance video running from a group in Claremont after he had been stabbed at a nearby mechanic shop.

Rodriguez and Reyes made a brief court appearance on Monday afternoon. They were charged with murder and gang assault, law enforcement sources told the I-Team.

The development in the case comes a little more than a month after the I-Team reported that a 27-year-old man, who had been jailed for two years at Rikers after wrongly being accused of murdering Arias, reached an $800,000 settlement with the city.

A 27-year-old Bronx man jailed for two years at Rikers awaiting a murder trial before the charges against him were dropped has reached an $800,000 settlement with New York City, he exclusively told NBC 4 New York’s I-Team.

(Published Wednesday, March 8, 2017)

That man, Enger Javier, had repeatedly denied any involvement in the slaying, but it wasn’t until February 2016 that the district attorney dropped the charges against him.

It was the surveillance video that eventually exonerated Javier, who had originally filed a $20 million notice of claim against the city for false arrest and malicious prosecution.

The video didn’t surface publicly until private investigator Manuel Gomez, who had been hired by Javier’s family, got his hands on it. It shows Javier standing on a sidewalk, holding a soda cup, as the group chases Arias. Arias was stabbed to death moments later.

Interviewed at the time the I-Team reported Javier’s settlement with the city, Gomez said he had identified the “real killers” — all members of a notorious street gang called the Trinitarios — and tracked them to Facebook, where he says one boasted about the Arias murder.

Gomez said he had provided a mountain of evidence to the district attorney’s office and homicide detectives in the 44th precinct that implicated at least two of the gang members in other crimes, including a 2010 machete attack in Manhattan.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has not commented on the case, while the Bronx District Attorney’s Office said it began re-investigating the Arias murder after the charges against Javier were dismissed and that there’s been a careful review of the evidence.

New Suspects Indicted for 2012 Bronx Murder Years After Wrongful Arrest

The Bronx District Attorney has charged two reputed gang members for the murder of a college-bound man — a year after dismissing charges against a man wrongfully arrested for his murder.

Jose Rodriguez, 24, and Jesus Reyes, 26, were both indicted on Tuesday for the 2012 murder of Hansel Arias, 22, who was stabbed to death in the parking lot of the McDonald’s near Webster Avenue and E. 173rd Street.

Police had arrested Javier Enger for the murder shortly after it occurred, but Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark announced in February 2016 that she was moving to dismiss all charges against Enger after several eyewitnesses came forward in November 2015 with information that contradicted earlier accounts of the crime.

Bronx prosecutors began investigating the crime again, reexamining evidence and re-interviewing witnesses before concluding that they would prosecute Reyes and Rodriguez, Clark said.

“We needed to make sure that we could bring justice and a semblance of closure to Hansel Arias’ family,” she said. “Now, two men will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for this brutal crime.”

The Bronx DA’s office now believes that Reyes and Rodriguez, members of the Trinitarios gang, were part of a large group that had gathered at 1645 Webster Ave. on Aug. 19, 2012 around 2:15 a.m. to confront Arias about his membership rival gang DDP.

He was then attacked by several people, including Rodriguez, who allegedly grabbed a knife from Reyes and fatally stabbed Arias in the chest.

Although Clark said in a statement that her office “would not be pressured or hurried to a conclusion” during their reinvestigation of the case, Manuel Gomez, a private investigator hired by Enger’s family, sharply criticized the office for waiting so long before moving to indict Reyes and Rodriguez.

Gomez said he had been asking the DA’s Office for years to prosecute the two men in the case and had brought them video evidence and witnesses to support his claims.

He was thrilled that the case against Reyes and Rodriguez was moving forward but said he did not understand what took so long.

‘They didn’t even want to arrest anybody,” he said. “I put so much pressure on this building that they had no choice.”

Lynn Calvacca, the defense attorney for Rodriguez, maintained that the DA’s Office had waited on the evidence because they did not think they had enough of it to move forward and was skeptical about the quality of their case, especially given the prior arrest of Enger.

“They really screwed up the first time,” she said of the DA’s Office.

Mitchell Golub, the attorney for Reyes, echoed her concerns, arguing that the DA’s office should not have very much credibility this time around based on what happened last time.

Reyes and Rodriguez were both ordered held without bail and are due back in court on Sept. 5.

Bronx Teen Chooses to Stay Behind Bars at Rikers, Risking College Scholarship, to Clear Name in Shooting

A Bronx teenager who has already spent a year in jail has made a tough adult decision: choosing to stay behind bars on Rikers Island and take his case to trial rather than accept a plea deal on a gun charge.

“I’m not pleading guilty to something I did not do,” said 17-year-old Pedro Hernandez. “I’m willing to stay and fight this because I’m innocent.”

The dilemma: Hernandez, who became an academic standout during his time on Rikers, has been nominated for a college scholarship from a non-profit foundation. He can’t accept it while incarcerated.

Hernandez has been housed in the adolescent jail on Rikers since his arrest last July in connection with a 2015 shooting outside a supermarket that left a teenager injured. Hernandez has consistently professed his innocence, but his family has been unable to post the $250,000 bond to get him out.

Manuel Gomez, a private investigator hired by the Hernandez family, said he located multiple, independent witnesses who confirmed Hernandez wasn’t the shooter. Some even identified a different teenager as the real gunman. Gomez said he presented all of the evidence to the district attorney’s office.

The 16-year-old victim in that 2015 shooting, who was hit in the leg, also told the I-team in November that Hernandez wasn’t the gunman. The teen said officers from the 42nd Precinct, and one in particular, David Terrell, had pressured him to falsely implicate Hernandez. Another teen said he was pressured to do the same.

In December, the NYPD stripped Terrell, now a detective, of his gun and badge. He remains on modified duty. The Bronx district attorney’s office said it is investigating allegations of misconduct against the 42nd Precinct.

Meanwhile, the case against Hernandez has been postponed several times. The Bronx district attorney’s office recently offered him a plea deal of five years probation, but the young man wants to take his case to trial. A spokesperson said the trial is scheduled to start Wednesday.

Hernandez recently earned earned his high school equivalency diploma and received numerous awards of excellence, including the Superintendent’s Special Recognition Award from the city Department of Education’s Alternative Schools program.

Source: I-Team: Bronx Teen Chooses to Stay Behind Bars at Rikers, Risking College Scholarship, to Clear Name in Shooting – NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Rikers-Island-Prison-Jail-New-York-Trap-Investigation-Inmate-Guard-433817063.html#ixzz4ooXsDroO
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