MS-13 ‘serial killer’ sentenced in Nassau for involvement in 4 slayings
An MS-13 gang member who admitted to being involved in four murders in Nassau County was sentenced Tuesday to 32 years to life in prison.
It was an emotional scene inside the Nassau County Court Building when Raul Ponce, known as Shadow, was sentenced for the killings that occurred between 2016 and 2017. Anne Donnelly, the county’s district attorney, described him as a serial killer.
“Ponce participated in extraordinary acts of violence. One defendant associated with four murders. Let that sink in,” she said.
Donnelly says Ponce and other gang members lured two of his victims into the Massapequa Preserve where 19-year old Julio Cesar Espantzay-Gonzales’ body was found by a dogwalker.
Nassau police conducted several high-profile searches of the preserve. In one of their searches, 18-year-old Bryan Lemus’ body was found. His mother, Amanda, was at the courthouse for the sentencing.
Both victims were lured in and killed with a machete. Donnelly called the murders “senseless.”
“They were so violent for the sake of being violent that it’s hard to really imagine,” she said.
Ponce was also sentenced for manslaughter in his involvement in the killing of two others.
Donnelly says MS-13 is “still an active and violent gang” on Long Island and that her work isn’t finished.
“There are a number of ongoing investigations and prosecutions we cannot comment on. But let me assure you that we are laser-focused on MS-13,” she said.
Ponce will be joining his co-conspirators in jail who were sentenced back in 2019 to 50 years in prison.
Donnelly says there’s another suspect who has fled the country. She says she’s working with federal authorities to get that person back here.