In the early morning of June 23, 2010, Tex Ormejuste rang the doorbell of his brother's Elmont home, hoping to discover why his nephew had not shown up at work for two days.
No one answered but music playing inside suddenly stopped. In testimony Tuesday, he recalled that he became suspicious and dialed 911. Minutes later, police told him his brother and nephew were dead and another nephew was the prime suspect.
In the opening day of Dario Ormejuste's murder trial Tuesday in Nassau County Court, Tex Ormejuste sat stoically on the witness stand, relating how that nephew had emerged from the house and was tackled by officers, who had just found his father's body inside.
"The police told me what had happened," he testified.
Tex's brother, Bob Ormejuste, 65, and his other nephew, Guerby Ormejuste, 30, a New York City correction officer, had both been shot to death. Bob's wife, Rose Ormejuste, 65, was found dead two weeks later in the trunk of Guerby Ormejuste's car in Brooklyn.
Tex Ormejuste testified that he had gone to the house in the middle of the night after his nephew's employer had called, concerned because the young man hadn't shown up for two days.In his opening statement, prosecutor Michael Walsh told the jury that Dario Ormejuste used his brother's service pistol to shoot Guerby Ormejuste 10 times in the family's Elmont basement. Dario Ormejuste then shot his mother once in the head, killing her, Walsh said. He then waited several hours for his father to return home from his maintenance job, shooting him twice in the head before he could even put down his lunch pail, Walsh said.
"There is not going to be any mystery here," Walsh told the jury. "Some cases are exactly what they appear to be, and this is one of them."
Walsh said there is no way Dario could have lived in the house with his dead father and brother for two days and not realized they were there, as he told police. He said there was no sign that anyone forced his way into the home, and Dario was the only one left alive who had a key.
Walsh also questioned why Ormejuste, if he was innocent, wouldn't have come out of the house when the night of June 23 when first his uncle and the the police rang the doorbell and called him repeatedly.
But Dario Ormejuste's defense lawyer, Dana Grossblatt of Jericho, said her client had a completely separate entrance to the home's second floor, and had no idea that his family was dead when police arrived.
"The tragedy continues as we sit in this courtroom today," she said. "The tragedy of Dario Ormejuste not being the killer of his family."
If Dario Ormejuste is convicted of first- and second-degree murder, Judge Jerald Carter could sentence him to life in prison without parole.