Va. MS-13 member sentenced to life in prison for 2019 gang murder

A Fairfax County, Virginia, man was sentenced to life in federal prison Monday for his involvement in the 2019 murder of a 16-year-old.

Jose Henry Hernandez-Garcia, 29, was one of three members of the MS-13 street gang convicted in federal court on charges related to the killing of Jacson Pineda-Chicas, of Falls Church, Virginia.

Hernandez-Garcia, of Annandale, was convicted on charges of murder, racketeering and conspiracy in December 2022.

According to prosecutors, Jose Domingo Ordonez-Zometa — who they said was the leader of the MS-13 “clique” — held a meeting at his house in March 2019, where he discussed his suspicions that Pineda-Chicas was in contact with police about the gang’s activities.

Ordonez-Zometa then began to question Pineda-Chicas about his alleged cooperation with the police. During the questioning, prosecutors said Hernandez-Garcia, his co-defendants and at least one other MS-13 member assaulted both the teen and another member who tried to defend him. Ultimately, according to prosecutors, Ordonez-Zometa ordered the other gang members to kill Pineda-Chicas.

Hernandez-Garcia and fellow gang members then stabbed Pineda-Chicas more than 100 times in Ordonez-Zometa’s basement.

Prosecutors said Hernandez-Garcia, along with Ordonez-Zometa and another MS-13 member stayed at the crime scene to conceal evidence of the murder, including cleaning up the victim’s blood.

Meanwhile, other members brought Pineda-Chicas’s body to a secluded area in Stafford County, Virginia, where they set it on fire and destroyed evidence of the murder from their vehicle. Police discovered the victim’s body along River Road in the pre-dawn hours of March 19, 2019.

Ordonez-Zometa was sentenced to life in prison in March of this year. Ortega-Ayala also faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison at his sentencing in September.

Kate Corliss

Kate Corliss is a Digital Writer/Editor for She is a senior studying journalism at American University and serves as the Campus Life Editor for the student newspaper, The Eagle.

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