Raul Ponce of Hempstead, 21, was arraigned on charges of Murder in the Second Degree, the Nassau DA says.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that an alleged MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha) gang member was arraigned on a grand jury indictment for allegedly murdering a man in the Massapequa Preserve in August of 2016.
Raul Ponce, 21, of Hempstead was arraigned before Judge Robert Schwartz on charges of Murder in the Second Degree (an A-I felony). The defendant was remanded and is due back in court on September 10. If convicted of the top count, he faces 25 years to life in prison.
“I am committed to bringing all of the members of MS-13 who have brutally murdered people in Nassau County to justice,” DA Singas said. “This indictment is another step that we are taking with our law enforcement partners to bring closure to victims’ families and to eradicate MS-13 violence from Nassau County.”
DA Singas said that on August 23, 2016, victim Bryan Steven Cho Lemus, a perceived enemy of MS-13, was walking his dog on Arthur Street in Uniondale, when he was lured into the Massapequa Preserve with the promise of a party with drugs and sex. While inside the park, Lemus was allegedly killed with machetes by Raul Ponce, an MS-13 gang member.
Lemus’ body was found on May 24, 2019, in a shallow grave inside the Massapequa Preserve by members of the Nassau County Police Department’s Homicide Bureau.
Following an investigation, Ponce was arrested by the NCPD on June 6, 2019. Gerson Stanley Juarez a/k/a Angel Black, also an alleged member of MS-13, is also charged with the murder of Lemus. Others remain unapprehended for the crime. Juarez, 23, of Hempstead, was arraigned on August 15 on a grand jury indictment and his case is pending.
Deputy Bureau Chief Jared Rosenblatt of DA Singas’ Major Offense Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Patrick Brand of the Special Operations Narcotics and Gangs Bureau are prosecuting this case. David Haber, Esq. represents Ponce and Greg Madey, Esq. represents Juarez.
A criminal charge is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.