A Brooklyn man could spend the rest of his life behind bars after being convicted this week of murdering an Ozone Park man during a botched home invasion.
Freddie Saldago, 41, was convicted on April 30 of second-degree murder, first-degree burglary, criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree assault; the verdict came after a two-week trial, according to Chief Assistant District Attorney John Ryan. Saldago will likely be ordered to serve up to 25 years to life in prison when he’s sentenced on May 17.
Saldago shot Frankie Nieves to death inside his Peconic Street home during the home invasion attempt on Jan. 11, 2016. Law enforcement agents apprehended Saldago in Boynton Beach, Florida a week later following an investigation.
“The victim in this case was helping his 5-year-old daughter dress for school when [Saldago] and another individual barged in, fought with the victim’s brother and then shot the 50-year-old father once in the chest,” Ryan said in a May 1 statement. “This kind of lawless gun violence is reprehensible. One man was killed, and the child could have easily become a victim of this ruthless act of depravity.”
Police said the deadly incident occurred at around 7:56 a.m. on Jan. 11, 2016 inside the Nieves home on Peconic Street near Lake Street.
According to prosecutors, Nieves was on the second-floor at the time, helping his daughter, when Saldago and the unidentified suspect burst in. Nieves’ brother confronted the two perpetrators, both of whom were armed with a firearm and a stun gun, and got into a physical dispute.
Law enforcement sources said that Nieves’ brother managed to get away from the armed pair and ran toward the front door. As he escaped the home, police said, he heard a gun go off; it turned out to be the shot that struck Nieves in the chest and claimed his life.
Security camera footage near the residence showed Saldago and the second perpetrator fleeing inside a white BMW. One of the men left a red hat at the scene that police recovered.
A forensic examination, prosecutors said, led to the discovery of DNA from the hat which matched Saldago’s genetic profile, which was in the New York State DNA Databank.
Police determined that Saldago fled to the Miami area soon after the shooting. On Jan. 18, 2016, police in Florida picked him up inside the same white BMW involved in the murder, which had been reported stolen. Upon his arrest, Ryan said, the suspect provided authorities with a false name, which led to his release on bail.
Members of the 106th Precinct Detective Squad, along with Federal Marshals and the Boynton Beach Police Department, soon located Saldago and re-arrested him. He was extradited back to Queens for prosecution.
Detectives further linked Saldago to the homicide after finding a drop of blood inside the BMW which matched the victim’s DNA, prosecutors noted.