A grand jury has indicted a 19-year-old man on a second-degree murder charge in the slaying of a Roosevelt resident who police have said fell victim to an MS-13 machete killing.
Court records show Jose Daniel Lopez is scheduled for arraignment on Thursday following his Aug. 16 indictment in the death of Josue Amaya Leonor, 19.
Police have said the victim became an MS-13 enemy after posting pictures on social media of himself and new friends whom the gang considered rivals.
Law enforcement officials unearthed Amaya Leonor’s remains in May in a wooded area of Roosevelt Preserve nearly two years after he disappeared. Police said Leonor had been “marked for death” after being named “an enemy of MS-13.”
Nassau police arrested Lopez on a murder charge in June, alleging he caused the victim’s death while acting with others by striking him numerous times with a machete.
Police said Amaya Leonor went into the woods with Lopez and several others, believing he was going to hang out and smoke marijuana. But there were four others waiting with machetes to attack him, according to authorities.
A Nassau district attorney’s office spokeswoman declined to comment on Wednesday.
Lopez’s defense attorney, Jeffrey Groder, said his client intended to plead not guilty at his arraignment in Nassau County Court. The Mineola lawyer declined to comment further.
In a previous interview with Newsday, Amaya Leonor's sister said her brother had told her not long before he went missing that he had felt threatened at school, but didn’t have enemies and didn’t mention a gang.
Leonor was a former student at Freeport and Roosevelt high schools, according to school district officials.