Two Amityville men lured their victim with phone calls and text messages to a vacant cottage, where they stabbed and beat him to death, then set his body ablaze the next day, Suffolk County prosecutors said Thursday.
Bryan Rosales-Mejia, 21, and Orlen Soliz-Galvez, 18, have given videotaped confessions detailing their roles in the killing, according to Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Creighton.
German Guzman's burning body was discovered Oct. 15 in the Otis Pike Preserve in Manorville, more than 30 miles from where authorities said the 36-year-old Amityville man was attacked in a cottage behind Rosales-Mejia's home at 351 Broadway.
"They ambushed him, punching and kicking him, and then began to stab him with a knife and a screwdriver, and continued punching and kicking him until he died," Creighton said after the defendants' arraignment in Riverhead.
Creighton said the men put the body in Guzman's vehicle and left it there overnight. The following afternoon, they returned and drove to Manorville, where they placed the body "on the side of the Wading River-Manor Road, covered it with brush and set it on fire," she said.
A motorist saw the blaze and called authorities to report a brush fire, leading authorities to the body, police said.
Creighton did not divulge a possible motive in the case.
State Supreme Court Justice John Collins set bail for both Rosales-Mejia and Soliz-Galvez at $10 million. Court-appointed defense attorneys for the men entered not-guilty pleas on their behalf.
"It's a horrible crime, there is no question," said Rosales-Mejia's attorney, Joseph A. Hanshe of Sayville. "We have to look at the facts to establish where there is culpability, if any, on our client."
Soliz-Galvez's attorney, Daniel A. Russo of Westhampton Beach, said: "I didn't hear any evidence connecting him to this murder. All we heard was evidence connecting the co-defendant."
Rosales-Mejia was arrested Oct. 17 in Amityville while driving Guzman's car, Creighton said. Soliz-Galvez was arrested Oct. 20.
Prosecutors said the defendants knew Guzman, who is a native of El Salvador, though it's unclear how.
Russo said Soliz-Galvez didn't know the victim. Hanshe said his client had seen Guzman before but was never introduced to him.
Hanshe said Rosales-Mejia, who is also from El Salvador, worked in a Lindenhurst bakery and lived with his mother. He attended Amityville High School before dropping out in the 11th grade.
With John Valenti