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Friday, 3 August 2012

MS-13 gang leader was outraged when he heard that members of his crew had been hanging out with Osbin Noel Hernandez-Gonzales

22:54 | , , ,

MS-13 gang leader was outraged when he heard that members of his crew had been hanging out with Osbin Noel Hernandez-Gonzales, a reputed member of a rival street gang, authorities said Tuesday. The MS-13 leader knew that Jeremy Oto Soto and another teenager wanted to become MS-13 members, so he decided the two teens would have to kill Hernandez-Gonzales to get into the gang, said Richmond prosecutor Ann Cabell Baskervill. "If they refused to do that, they and their families would be killed," Baskervill told Judge Richard D. Taylor Jr. on Tuesday in Richmond Circuit Court. Hours later, on July 24, 2011, Soto and the other teenage recruit, Luis Osvaldo Ramirez-Cabello, shot and killed Hernandez-Gonzales, 18, near the Huguenot Bridge on the south bank of the James River, Baskervill said. Soto, 17, of Chesterfield County, pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder, gang participation and use of a firearm in a murder. He had faced a charge of first-degree murder. A charge of conspiracy to commit murder was withdrawn as part of the plea deal. Soto now faces up to 53 years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 18. Ramirez-Cabello, 16, also of Chesterfield, has a trial date set for Aug. 16 and faces the same charges Soto initially had faced, including first-degree murder. Baskervill said in court Tuesday that Soto and Ramirez-Cabello had been smoking marijuana with Hernandez-Gonzales at an MS-13 hangout in the 2700 block of Walmsley Boulevard in South Richmond. Hernandez-Gonzales was believed to be "representing" for the Latin Kings, a rival Hispanic gang. MS-13, a national street gang with ties to El Salvador, has a reputation for being especially violent. A person who was with the group that was hanging out on Walmsley Boulevard notified the MS-13 leader, Jose A. "el Pantro" Bran, that members of the gang were hanging out with a member of the Latin Kings, Baskervill said. Bran devised a plan for Soto and Ramirez-Cabello to earn initiation into the gang by killing Hernandez-Gonzales, Baskervill said. "They had not killed anyone, and killing someone is a requirement for membership in the gang," Baskervill said. Hours later, Hernandez-Gonzales was brought down a path to the river with Soto and Ramirez-Cabello, known as "Destroyer," and several other gang members and leaders, Baskervill said. Hernandez-Gonzales was shot multiple times. "The gun changed hands among the MS-13 participants," Baskervill said. "But the defendant, Soto, fired at least one shot that struck Osbin. Destroyer also fired a shot that struck Osbin." The body was discovered in the 8200 block of Riverside Drive, along a trail south of the river near the Huguenot Bridge. The victim suffered two gunshot wounds to his face, a graze wound to his body and a wound to his hand. Soon after the killing, Soto and Ramirez-Cabello were "beaten into the gang," the final ritual for gang membership. On Tuesday, Soto sat in court with a Spanish interpreter between him and his father. Soto's twin sister sat in the gallery behind him. "Is something funny?" the judge snapped at Soto during the hearing. Soto appeared to reply, "Sorry, I'm nervous." His attorney, James M. Nachman, said later that his client is remorseful. "He's just nervous," he said. "Sometimes it looks like he's smiling, and he's not." Nachman added that his client had feared for the lives of his family after Bran allegedly ordered that Soto and Ramirez-Cabello kill the victim or they would be killed along with their families. "The law doesn't allow you to trade a life for a life," Nachman said. Bran and four other suspected MS-13 members were indicted in February on more than three dozen state charges in a brutal stabbing of a man in South Richmond. Baskervill said those charges have been withdrawn because federal authorities have taken over the case. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia declined Tuesday to discuss the status of the stabbing case.

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