A Huntington Station woman has pleaded guilty to hiring hitmen to kill her ex-mother-in-law while she visited Ecuador, officials said Friday.
Elsy Rodriguez-Garcia, 27, pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree conspiracy, a felony, and is expected to be sentenced on April 15 to two to six years in prison under a plea agreement, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office.
"This is a shocking and disturbing case," District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a statement Friday. "The defendant’s intentions were very clear that she wanted this person murdered, and she was ready and willing to pay for it. Thankfully law enforcement was notified and able to intervene before anyone got hurt, and [Thursday's] guilty plea ensures she is held accountable."
William Ferro, the Hauppauge-based defense attorney for Rodriguez-Garcia, said in an email Friday that his client was the victim of "an abusive marital relationship" and that "no victim was ever in danger from Elsy Rodriguez-Garcia."
"Elsy is a loving mother of two beautiful sons," Ferro said. "Prior to the facts leading to her arrest, she had no criminal record and in fact was gainfully employed as an assistant in a pediatrician's office. Her employer, a physician, wrote her a glowing letter of reference."
The plot began in July 2019, when according to prosecutors, Rodriguez-Garcia contacted a co-conspirator via the mobile application WhatsApp "to orchestrate the murder of her ex-husband’s mother and daughter." She asked the co-conspirator to hire hitmen to commit the murder in Ecuador, where she believed the targets were visiting, prosecutors said. Rodriguez-Garcia provided photographs of one of the targets to the co-conspirator and also gave a description of the residence where she believed the pair were staying, prosecutors said.
Rodriguez-Garcia agreed to wire payment for the murder once she received proof that the murder had occurred, prosecutors said.
At some point, Rodriguez-Garcia’s ex-husband became aware of the murder-for-hire plot and contacted the Suffolk County Police Department’s Third Precinct, officials said.
During a joint investigation between the police and the DA's office, a doctored photo purporting to show the deceased targets of the conspiracy was sent by the co-conspirator to Rodriguez-Garcia as "proof" that the murder had been carried out, prosecutors said.
The photo was created by the police department's Identification Section and appeared to show a deceased woman and child in the countryside of Ecuador.
Rodriguez-Garcia was arrested on July 13.
Ferro added of his client: "She has been a model prisoner since her arrest and we anticipate that she will continue to prove to be an exemplary candidate for immediate parole. The plea and the resultant time she has served for it should be sufficient to satisfy the interests of justice."