Jordy Jose Bonilla, 18, had pleaded guilty in Loudoun County Circuit Court back in December.
Bonilla lured Guillermo Piedra-Espinoza and a second man to a forested area behind an Ashburn, Virginia, apartment complex on Nov. 4, 2016, with a text inviting them over “to party with some females,” prosecutors said in a statement. Upon the pair’s arrival, Bonilla left, supposedly to get the women. But he returned with a large knife and two men — Jose Otoniel Chicas Guevara and Oscar Fabricio Lopez Nieto, who were also armed.
“Bonilla advised the victim that he had recently joined MS-13 and had been given a mission to kill someone,” the commonwealth’s attorney’s office said in a statement.
A struggle followed. Bonilla attacked the surviving victim, prosecutors said, while Chicas Guevara and Lopez Nieto attacked Piedra-Espinoza with knives.
Loudoun County sheriff’s deputies who responded that day found the surviving victim with stab wounds. Piedra-Espinoza was found dead, face-down in a creek, with wounds to his back.
The unidentified surviving victim told authorities his attacker was Bonilla, who was arrested days later in Hempstead, New York. Bonilla confessed to authorities that he had targeted Piedra-Espinoza because he was a member of the rival 18th Street Gang, prosecutors said.
Bonilla chose to join MS-13 in the U.S. even though he had been “able to get away from it” in El Salvador, said Angela Vernail, senior assistant commonwealth’s attorney. “[Bonilla] selected a friend, an acquaintance,” said Vernail. “[Bonilla] knew what he was doing. It was planned. It was deliberate.”
At the time of the attack, the three attackers were juveniles; prosecutors charged them all as adults.
Bonilla was convicted on one count of first-degree murder; one count of aggravated malicious wounding; two counts of malicious wounding by mob; two counts of gang participation; two counts of conspiracy to commit murder; and two counts of shooting, stabbing, or wounding another in the commission of a felony.
In addition to the 43-year prison term, Bonilla was sentenced to an additional 25 years of suspended time and ordered to pay $14,000 in restitution.
Chicas Guevara, 18, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder and other related charges on May 9. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 15. Lopez Nieto, 17, pleaded guilty April 5. He’s set to be sentenced Aug. 13.
Both could get life in prison.
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