The victim was attacked outside El Paisa bar on Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights.
By Forum Staff
Three reputed members of the Latin Kings gang have been convicted in the October 2016 brutal beatdown of member of a rival crew outside of a bar in Jackson Heights, Chief Assistant District Attorney John Ryan, on behalf of Queens DA Richard Brown, announced on Thursday.
Following a two-week trial, a jury last Wednesday convicted Michael Aragundi, 21, of Jamaica, Luis Mayancela, 23, of Astoria, and Luis Minchala, 28, of Jackson Heights of first-degree gang assault, two counts of first-degree robbery, second-degree robbery and first-and second-degree assault.
Two other co-defendants—Jonathan Duy and Wilson Matute—previously pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted murder and are awaiting sentencing.
According to trial testimony, shortly after 1 a.m. on Oct. 29, 2016, Aragundi, Mayancela and several other Latin Kings members approached and attacked the then 24-year-old victim, who was standing outside of El Paisa bar on Northern Boulevard. The victim was repeatedly punched and stabbed; additionally, one of the defendants also grabbed and beat the man with a cane. Despite not being involved in the actual attack, Minchala, as the gang leader, ordered the hit on the victim and watched to make sure the rival was beaten.
According to trial testimony, after fulfilling Minchala’s orders, the defendants fled the scene, leaving the victim bleeding in front of the bar. The wounded man—who had been stabbed a total of 11 times—was rushed to a nearby hospital and treated for injuries sustained to his head, neck and other extremities. Several of the lacerations also penetrated the victim’s arm, causing the man to suffer extensive pain and permanent nerve damage.
Ryan noted that on the eve of closing arguments in the trial, Minchala fled the jurisdiction and is currently being sought as a fugitive by the City Police Department’s Warrant Squad.
“The defendants cornered and attacked the victim in front of a bar. The victim sustained a series of severe stab wounds during the assault and continues to suffer from nerve damage as a result of the beating he endured. After weighing the evidence presented at trial, a jury found the defendants guilty of gang assault and other crimes,” Ryan added. “This verdict reaffirms that gang violence is unacceptable and individuals who participate in gang attacks and other intolerable acts, will go to prison.”
Sentencing has been set for May 16, at which time Aragundi, Mayancela, and Minchala each face up to 25 years in prison.