US

MS-13 Member Sentenced to Life for Rape and Murder of 13-Year-Old in 2001

By Victor Westerkamp

An MS-13 member was sentenced to life in prison plus 25 years without parole, for the rape and first-degree murder of 13-year-old Jacqueline Piazza of Whittier in Los Angeles in 2001.

Jacqueline Piazza’s naked body was found in the Elysian park of Los Angeles on June 28, 2001. She had been raped and killed with two gunshots in the head, KTLA reported.

During the trial, “prosecutors said the defendants kidnapped the victim the night before she was found and drove her to a remote area of the park, where they allegedly sexually assaulted and killed her,” said the D.A’s office statement.

Special circumstance allegations also found that the murder took place in the commission of rape, lewd acts on a child, and kidnapping. A previous trial was adjourned because of an indecisive jury.

Among the rapist-killer, Jorge Palacios, 41, were three other suspects convicted in March for the same crime, Rogelio Contreras, 41; Melvin Sandoval, 40; and Santos Grimaldi, 36. They are scheduled for a pre-trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Aug. 23.

The case remained unresolved for nearly a decade until the LAPD robbery and homicide division joined forces with the gang and narcotics division and revealed new evidence that was sent to the District Attorney’s Hardcore Gang Division. The four suspects were indicted thereupon in June of 2012.

Many people took to social media after the sentence was published and vented their anger over the humane punishment of Palacios. One user said on Facebook, “It’s amazing how the governor and so many politicians support abortions of innocent babies but they have compassion for these criminals who deserve the consequences of their actions, like death penalty.”

MS-13 Believed to Be Behind Body Found in Washington

The infamous MS-13 gang is believed to be behind the murder of a male who was found in Washington with one hand severed and the other barely attached.

Detectives believe the body found on April 27 is Eberson Guerra Sánchez, a ninth-grader who attended Tuscarora High School in Frederick, Maryland, law enforcement sources told WUSA on May 3.

The body, found beneath the Chain Bridge near the popular Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath, was badly beaten and hacked with what detectives believe was a machete.

One hand was completely severed while the other was barely attached.

Tuscarora High School Principal Christopher Berry said in a letter (pdf) to students and parents on May 2 that Sánchez had died. The Metro Police Department, though, said that the identification of the body hasn’t been completed yet.

“I know what they’re saying, but it’s too early to make a positive identification,” Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham told NBC 4. “The victim’s face was so badly beaten, a positive identification will take more time.”

The suspected MS-13 murder of Sanchez came just three days before three men believed to be members of the MS-13 gang were indicted for their alleged involvement in the kidnapping and murder of a rival gang member in Nevada. The three men, all illegal aliens, allegedly restrained the victim and stabbed him while holding a gun to his head. When he tried to run, they shot him. The men then chopped up his body.

The gang, also known as Mara Salva 13, originated in Los Angeles but spread to El Salvador as members were deported from the United States. The transnational criminal organization is believed to have more than 10,000 members and regularly conducts gang activities in at least ten states, including Maryland, and across Central America and Mexico.

Epoch Times Reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.