By Rebecca Henely
A Woodside inmate at Riker’s Island who attempted to hire a hitman to murder two people who had witnessed him killing a man was sentenced to 33 years in prison Jan. 19, the DA’s office said.
Gino Florencia, 32, who formerly lived on 54th Street near Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside, pleaded guilty to assault, manslaughter and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder last month, the DA said.
Florencia, who had been held at Riker’s Island without bail since his arrest Oct. 29, 2009, had been saying from inside his cell that he wanted to kill two witnesses — whose names have not been revealed — who had witnessed him killing Edison Vera in a courtyard at 45-55 48th St. in Woodside Oct. 24, 2009, the DA said. Florencia had also attempted to kill the two witnesses at the time, shooting one in the arm and stomach, the DA said.
When the DA learned of Florencia’s murder plot, the office set up a sting operation with the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, the DA said. An undercover police officer posing as a hitman came in contact with Florencia and between Sept. 17 and Oct. 3 Florencia spoke with him several times in person and over the phone, the DA said. During these conversations, Florencia offered to pay the officer $2,000 to kill the witnesses, $1,000 in advance and $1,000 after the job was complete, the DA said.
Florencia supplied the officer with information about the witnesses and photographs of people resembling the witnesses, the DA said. He also worked through a third party for the officer to receive a partial payment of $500, the DA said.
Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory L. Lasak sentenced Florencia to 25 years in prison for manslaughter and eight years for assault, adding up to 33 years in all, the DA said. Florencia also received 10 to 20 years for the two conspiracy counts, which he will serve at the same time as his manslaughter and assault charges, the DA said.
“Today’s lengthy prison sentence is more than warranted and will serve as both a punishment for this defendant and a deterrent to those who would attempt to thwart justice,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a release.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.