Willy Hernandez of Copiague, 31, is expected to be sentenced on February 15.
Riverhead, NY - January 19, 2017 - Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini announced the trial conviction of MS-13 gang member Willy Hernandez, 31, of Copiague, for assaulting a man in a Copiague deli on July 27, 2017 by striking him over the head with a glass bottle, causing the bottle to break and resulting in severe lacerations to the man’s face. Hernandez was convicted by a Suffolk County Supreme Court jury of Assault in the Second Degree, a D felony, on January 16, 2018.
“The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office’s number one priority is to proactively target the members of MS-13 and other violent street gangs and to prosecute those criminals to the fullest extent of the law,” Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini said. “We will not tolerate MS-13 in our communities, and my office is implementing an extremely aggressive strategy to combat gang activity in Suffolk County.”
Under District Attorney Sini’s leadership, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office has been reorganized to include a designated Gang Unit within the newly-restructured Enhanced Prosecution Bureau to focus exclusively on investigating and prosecuting gang members in Suffolk County. The Gang Unit will proactively target gang members; coordinate efforts and intelligence with all gang-assigned law enforcement units in the region; and assist in conducting prevention and intervention programs in the community.
In his previous role as Commissioner of the Suffolk County Police Department, District Attorney Sini launched a multi-pronged strategy to eradicate MS-13 from Suffolk County, which included collaborative efforts to collect intelligence on gang members and share that intelligence with partnering law enforcement agencies; enhanced and targeted police presence and patrols in affected areas; and significant investments in gang prevention and intervention strategies. The initiative has resulted in more than 300 arrests of MS-13 gang members since September 2016.
The jury found Hernandez guilty of assaulting the victim at Amigo Deli, located at 1715 Great Neck Road, Copiague, N.Y. at approximately 10:45 p.m. on July 27, 2017. Hernandez followed the victim out of the deli’s front entrance and, without provocation or cause, grabbed him by the neck and smashed a Corona beer bottle over his head, causing the bottle to break and slice the victim’s lower left cheek area. The assault resulted in a severe wound to the victim’s face, which required 13 stitches, and has left the victim with nerve damage and extensive scarring.
Hernandez was arrested by Suffolk County Police on August 3, 2017 and pled not guilty to the assault charge at arraignment on August 29, 2017. He is expected to be sentenced on February 15, 2018.
Assistant District Attorney Mary Skiber handled the prosecution of this case with assistance from Assistant District Attorney Melissa Bliss. The case was investigated by Suffolk County Police First Squad Detectives and First Precinct Gang Unit officers.