Kevin Granados-Coreas leaves Nassau Police headquarters on Aug. 16, 2017,...

Kevin Granados-Coreas leaves Nassau Police headquarters on Aug. 16, 2017, in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

An MS-13 member from Hempstead was sentenced Friday to 23 years to life in prison for his role in the grisly 2017 murder of a perceived gang enemy in the Massapequa Park Preserve.

Kevin Granados-Coreas, 23, who is also known as Lonely, pleaded guilty in April to second-degree murder and second-degree conspiracy, both felonies.

“Julio Cesar Espantzay-Gonzales was but another tragic victim of a vicious cycle of gang violence perpetuated by MS-13,” said Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly. “The defendant told fellow MS-13 members that the victim was their ‘enemy.’ He helped to lure the young man into the preserve, and once inside, he wielded a machete and hacked Espantzay-Gonzales to death."

The sentencing took place at Nassau County Court in Mineola. Martin Goldberg, Granados-Coreas' Franklin Square-based defense attorney, did not respond to a request for comment.

Espantzay-Gonzales, 19, was reported missing on Jan. 31, 2017, and his body was discovered by a dog walker in the Massapequa Park Preserve nearly two months later, investigators said.

Prosecutors said the victim was lured to the woods on Jan. 28, 2017, by Granados-Coreas and others who promised the victim sex and marijuana.

Once on the preserve, Granados-Coreas and Antonio Cullal, also known as Duke; Raul Ponce, also known as Shadow; and Gerson Stanley Juarez, also known as Angel Black, hacked Espantzay-Gonzales to death with machetes, prosecutors said. The suspects then disposed of the body under tree branches, leaves and other brush, officials said.

According to the indictment, Carlos Portillo, also known as Pikachu, and Roberto Abrego-Reyes, also known as Splinter, ordered the murder because Espantzay-Gonzales was perceived to be an enemy of the gang.

Granados-Coreas was arrested in Hempstead by the Nassau County Police Department’s Homicide Squad on Aug. 15, 2017.

Cullal was previously sentenced to 20 years to life while Ponce was sentenced to 32 years to life for their roles in the murder.

The cases against Portillo, Juarez and Abrego-Reyes are still pending.

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