A Nassau jury has convicted a gang member of attempted murder for a 2015 Uniondale shooting that left a 14-year-old bicyclist paralyzed after a bullet hit his spine, authorities said Thursday.
Manuel Sosa-Marquez, 24, of Hempstead, faces 5 to 25 years in prison after Wednesday’s guilty verdict in Nassau County Court, according to the district attorney’s office.
Prosecutors said the boy was riding his bicycle in Uniondale on the morning of Aug. 6, 2015, to meet friends in a park when Sosa-Marquez pulled up in a Honda Civic and fired three shots at him, hitting him once in the torso.
Now 17, the victim is a quadriplegic who lives in an upstate nursing home, has only limited use of one arm and will never walk again, prosecutors said.
The Mineola jury deliberated for about three hours before also returning guilty verdicts on an assault charge and two weapon charges, court officials said.
The verdict came a day after Sosa-Marquez, who identified himself to the jury with only the surname Sosa, testified in his own defense.
He said he was a native of El Salvador who came to the United States at age 12, after his family left his home country “because of the gang violence over there” involving MS-13. Once in Nassau County, MS-13 tried to recruit him, but he “wanted nothing to do with it,” Sosa-Marquez testified.
The defendant also said during questioning by his attorney, Brian Carmody of Westbury, that he joined Salvadorans With Pride. But he denied committing the shooting, telling Carmody of the victim: “I never seen him in my life.”
Sosa-Marquez said he was doing construction and auto repair jobs, while also going to school, at the time of his September 2015 arrest. He also said police coerced him into signing a statement admitting to the crime, and that a detective told him he didn’t have a right to a lawyer because he was an immigrant.
Under prosecutor Brittany Gurrieri’s cross-examination, Sosa later said SWP — which authorities have identified as a locally active crime syndicate — was a “group of people” and “not a gang.” He also testified that SWP and MS-13 “don’t get along.”
Carmody said the signed admission stated his client told police he had been chased out of a park by MS-13 members, and Sosa-Marquez had done the shooting because he believed the victim was one of the people in that group.
The defense attorney said the victim had testified at the trial that he wasn’t part of MS-13, but hung around them because they gave him marijuana.
Carmody added Thursday that the defense disagreed with the verdict and would file an appeal.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement that the shooting “illustrates the horrific and senseless violence perpetrated by the gangs that we are working diligently to dismantle.”
She added in part: “No sentence will restore this young boy’s health, but I hope this conviction gives him and his family some sense of justice.”
State Supreme Court Justice Angelo Delligatti set sentencing for Nov. 16.