Prosecutors: Teen admitted to killing man set to testify against MS-13

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A suspected MS-13 member allegedly admitted to murdering a Nassau man who was set to testify against the street gang.

Prosecutors say the 17-year-old suspect accused of killing Wilmer Maldonado Rodriguez admitted to the crime. In a hearing inside of the youth section of county court Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Jared Rosenblatt said they have a video recording of the confessions.

Rosenblatt says with his mother by his side, the suspect also admitted to investigators that he's a member of MS-13. The suspect's mother declined to answer questions and wept as she left the courtroom.

Attorney Dana Grossblatt says she's skeptical that her client admitted to the crime, saying, "What prosecutors often say is an admission is not actually an admission."

The suspect has been charged with attacking Maldonado Rodriguez in October 2018, stabbing him multiple times, and is accused of carrying out a second attack on Feb. 1 of this year.

Police say on Feb. 2, the suspect bludgeoned the victim to death with a baseball bat. His body was found behind an abandoned house in New Cassel. As News 12 has reported, Maldonado Rodriguez was set to testify against members of MS-13 in an upcoming trial.

"I think that the police were under incredible pressure to make an arrest and make it fast, and in doing so I believe that they have cut corners, and that they have the wrong person," says Grossblatt.

Also in court Tuesday, a probation officer outlined a series of crimes that the suspect has been accused of in the past. He was charged for assault in 2017 and charged with criminal possession of a weapon last year.

The probation officer says the teen was released with a GPS monitoring device, but that he eventually cut it off. He remains in custody as of Tuesday evening.

The suspect is due back in court on Friday, where it is expected to be determined whether the teen will be tried in the youth part of county court or family court.

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