By Howard Koplowitz
A Woodhaven teen who is a member of the ferocious MS-13 gang was convicted last week of gang assault and other charges in the 2007 attack on a 19-year-old outside of a Laundromat and deli in Flushing, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Three MS-13 gang members approached the 19-year-old, whose name was not released, outside of a Laundromat at 43-78 162nd St. and asked if he had any affiliation with a gang, Brown said.
The victim said he did not belong to a gang and did not believe in them and entered a corner deli.
When he left the deli, he was confronted by 11 men, including Jose Hiraeta, 19, of 89-17 86th St. in Woodhaven and co-defendant Jose Molina, 20, of 59-10 174th St. in Fresh Meadows, who threatened and attacked the victim with a bicycle chain, plastic milk crate and fists and kicks, the DA said.
The gang also stole two necklaces and the victim’s shoes before fleeing, Brown said.
“The defendant’s poor choices in pursuing gang membership and the violence that is a part of that lifestyle have led him to be convicted of a serious crime that carries with it the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence,” the DA said in a statement.”
The victim suffered laceration and bruising to his forehead, right ear, back and shoulders and his front tooth was knocked out, Brown said.
Hiraeta, who has two horns tattooed on his forehead, and Molina were arrested within three weeks after the victim was able to pick them out of photo arrays, the DA said.
Molina pleaded guilty in October to gang assault before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder, who sentenced him Jan. 12 to seven years in prison, Brown said.
Hiraeta was convicted Feb. 17 of gang assault, assault, robbery and criminal possession of a weapon following a jury trial before Queens Supreme Court Justice Stephen Knopf, the DA said.
Hiraeta faces up to 25 years in prison when he is scheduled to be sentenced March 3, Brown said.
MS-13 originated in El Salvador and has a large presence in the United States. Members of the gang were responsible for the murders of 15-year-old Pashad Gray Dec. 24, 2006, and Maurice Parker, 21, May 18, 2007.
Both Gray and Parker were Flushing residents.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.