A Hempstead gang member was convicted last week for the murder of 18-year-old Yunior Maldonado in November 2010.
A jury convicted Pedro Santos, 23, of second-degree murder and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. The trial lasted approximately two weeks and the jury deliberated for two days. The defendant is due back for sentencing on April 6 before Acting Supreme Court Justice William O’Brien and faces up to 25 years to life in prison on the top count. “This defendant and an accomplice barbarically murdered an innocent young man with a machete and knife,” District Attorney Madeline Singas said. “The violence that Pedro Santos inflicted clearly indicates that he does not value life and has no place on our streets.”
Singas said that at approximately 11:20 p.m. on Nov. 14, 2010, Santos, known by the street name “Tiro Loco,” and Yan Cifuentes, 16, of Hempstead, approached 18-year-old Yunior Orlando Maldonado of Westbury as he walked on Thorne Avenue in Hempstead. Santos, who along with Cifuentes is affiliated with the 18th Street gang, asked Maldonado what gang he was in and started chasing him.
After catching up with Maldonado, Santos began swinging a machete at the victim while Cifuentes stabbed him six times with a knife before fleeing the scene.
Maldonado died at 11:58 p.m. at Winthrop Hospital, two minutes before his 19th birthday. Cifuentes pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in November 2011 and was sentenced to 10 years to life in prison.
Santos was arrested nine days after the incident by members of the Nassau County Police Department.
Assistant District Attorney Lauren Nickerson of DA Singas’ Major Offense Bureau is prosecuting the case. Santos is represented by Jorge Guttlein and Juan Carlos Guttlein, Esqs.
—Submitted by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office