Jose Martinez-Vazquez and Tiffany Diaz-Cabrera of Port Jefferson indicted in fatal stabbing of Benjamin Flores-Mendez in Setauket-Greenway Walking Trail
A Port Jefferson couple has been indicted in the 2021 fatal stabbing of a landscaper whose body was found at an entrance to the Setauket-Greenway Walking Trail, Suffolk prosecutors said Tuesday.
Jose Martinez-Vazquez, 24, and Tiffany Diaz-Cabrera, 20, both of Port Jefferson, were indicted on a charge of second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of Benjamin Flores-Mendez, 39, of Port Jefferson Station.
“These defendants allegedly followed the victim and violently attacked him,” Suffolk District Attorney Ray Tierney said in a statement Tuesday. “This was a senseless and coldblooded execution of an innocent unsuspecting man. Bringing justice to Mr. Flores-Mendez and his loved ones is our priority as we continue to gather evidence for this heinous crime.”
Martinez-Vazquez’s Patchogue-based attorney, John Halverson, said his client pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on the indictment Monday.
“My client maintains his innocence and we look forward to fighting these charges.”
Diaz-Cabrera’s attorney, Luigi Belcastro of Central Islip, said of his client: “She’s presumed innocent and she’s maintaining her innocence at this time. I think when the facts come out it’s going to show she had no hand in what occurred that day.”
Suffolk County Court Judge Karen M. Wilutis ordered both defendants held without bail.
Prosecutors have alleged that Martinez-Vazquez and Diaz-Cabrera, who police have said were boyfriend and girlfriend, “targeted” Flores-Mendez and followed him into the Port Jefferson Station entrance of the Setauket-Greenway Walking Trail on June 17, 2021. The pair, according to prosecutors, “allegedly acted in concert” in Flores-Mendez’s stabbing.
Prosecutors have not revealed a motive. Asked Tuesday, Tania Lopez, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said: “The motive remains under investigation.”
Diaz-Cabrera is due back in court on April 25. Martinez-Vazquez’s next court date is April 26.