Drug dealer found guilty in kidnapping, gruesome murders

Suspect Darren Lynch is led out of a

Suspect Darren Lynch is led out of a Selden police station after he was charged with killing two men. Photo Credit: James Carbone

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A drug dealer who testified that he shot and killed two men, sawed up their bodies in his Queens apartment and then buried the body parts in his parents' Coram backyard was convicted Friday of murder and kidnapping.

After about three hours of deliberation, a jury found Darren Lynch, 29, of Middle Village, guilty of first- and second-degree murder and first- and second-degree kidnapping. His co-defendant, James Wall, 30, of Coram, who Lynch testified was not present for the slayings, was found guilty of second-degree murder and first- and second-degree kidnapping.

Lynch, 29, of Middle Village, testified earlier this week that he killed Jairo Santos, 22, of Washington Heights, and Joseph Odierno, 35, of Miller Place, because he was angry about being cheated out of $30,000 for cocaine that was fake.

Some jurors said they found Lynch's testimony disturbing.

"He expressed himself so eloquently but managed to rationalize his actions without emotion," said juror Veronica Lee, 36. She said some of the words he used, such as "restitution" and "flummoxed," made him sound like "an educated drug dealer."

Juror Robert McDonald, 40, of Amityville, said he could tell Lynch was lying when he denied kidnapping the men and indicated that they went with him willingly. An indication he was lying, Stewart said, was when Lynch testified the victims didn't call for help while passing through a toll booth on a bridge that has no tolls.

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Gregorio Santos said he prays often for the men convicted of killing his son, who was a junior at Long Island University's C.W. Post Campus.

"I'm glad they're never going to hurt another human being," he said.

In closing arguments earlier, Lynch's lawyer, Paul Barahal of Smithtown, and Wall's attorney, Ira Weissman of Central Islip, urged jurors to doubt the testimony of Ricardo McKoy, who prosecutors say was a third kidnapping victim who managed to escape.

McKoy didn't call police or try to help Odierno and Santos, Barahal said.

Weissman told jurors that it didn't sound likely that Odierno had been kidnapped because he ingested cocaine shortly before his death.

"So what?" Assistant District Attorney John Scott Prudenti said in response during his closing statement. "I hope that kid was high as a kite when he got executed."

State Supreme Court Robert W. Doyle scheduled sentencing for Dec. 11. Lynch faces life without parole, and Wall faces 25 years to life.

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