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D.A.: Sentencing of 2 reputed Latin Kings sends message

Sun, July 21, 2013 7:31 PM | NYGIA (Administrator)
By sending two reputed Latin Kings street gang members to prison for more than 58 years for a botched murder attempt, the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office says it hopes a message was sent to other criminal enterprises operating inside county lines.

Justin Alfonso, 18, and Irving Negron, 22, were sentenced Monday for attempting to kill two fellow members in March 2012 in retaliation for stealing money and disrespecting the group, known as the Mohawk Warrior Tribe.

In June, a jury found Alfonso, Negron and three others guilty on all counts, including conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder.

“These are dangerous men,” Assistant District Attorney Matthew Weishaupt said. “By sending them to prison, until late in their lives, we significantly reduce that danger.”

Alfonso, who prosecutors said shot both victims inside a Rip Van Winkle Apartments unit in the City of Poughkeepsie with a stolen .45-caliber handgun, was sentenced to 592⁄3 to 79 years in state prison and 10 years post-release supervision. He was ordered to pay $750 in fines.

Negron was sentenced to 581⁄3 to 75 years in prison and 10 years post-release supervision. He, too, was ordered to pay $750 in fines.

Alfonso and Negron were convicted of second-degree conspiracy, two counts of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree gang assault and two counts of first-degree attempted assault, all felonies. Alfonso also was convicted of fourth-degree grand larceny for stealing the gun.

Prosecutors said he was ordered to kill the victims by the group’s Dutchess County leadership, Timothy “King Tiny” Ramirez, 22, and 43-year-old John “King Whiteblood” Rizzo of Hyde Park, who were both convicted during the trial.

In court, Alfonso was expressionless. When Dutchess County Court Judge Stephen Greller asked him if he would like to make a statement on his behalf, Alfonso replied, “No, sir.”

Greller said: “Your gang, its values, are over. And this community will be safe from, in my opinion, a sociopath killer.”

Greller said he had listened to phone calls Alfonso made, and read letters Alfonso wrote, where he bragged about the incident. Alfonso is alleged to have written that everyone was going to know his name after the attack.

Alfonso’s attorney Bruce Petito said he believes the sentence was excessive.

“Obviously we’ll be appealing that sentence,” Petito said. “The Appellate Division will decide if it was a fair verdict or if it was an excessive sentence imposed on a boy who was 17 (years old) when he committed the crime.”

The prosecution said Negron rushed into the apartment after Alfonso shot Ruben Rivera, 21, in the face and stabbed him. Kymberle Perez-Colon, 21, was shot in the upper chest. Both survived.

On his way out, Negron held the door open for police officers, responding to the attack, evidence showed.

Cynthia Kasnia, Negron’s attorney, said her client has maintained his innocence and also plans to appeal the court’s decision.

Rizzo and the fifth man convicted in the attack, Paul Sellers, 19, of the City of Poughkeepsie, are to be sentenced this week. Ramirez is to be sentenced in August.

Negron lives in the Town of Poughkeepsie. A residence was not provided for Alfonso.

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