6th suspected MS-13 member tied to Lawrence slaying pleads not guilty

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MINEOLA -

A sixth suspected MS-13 gang member indicted in connection with a December slaying in Lawrence pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

Elmer Gutierrez pleaded not guilty to murder and conspiracy to commit murder. He was remanded without bail.

As News 12 has reported, the body of Harold Sermeno, 17, was found in a playground area behind Five Towns Community Center. He had been shot multiple times and hacked with a machete.

Suspects Carlos Guerra, 18, and Yonathan Sanchez, 22, were arraigned last week in Mineola in connection with the death of Sermeno and Ian Cruz, whose body was found in Queens two days before Sermeno's death. Three juveniles were also indicted, including two 15-year-olds and a 13-year-old girl who investigators say lured both victims to secluded areas with the promise of sex and drugs.

Authorities say Cruz was killed with the same .22-caliber revolver as Sermeno.

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas says Sermeno and Cruz were killed because they were believed to have disparaged MS-13. She says the group plotted the killings in a Queens apartment, hoping to get respect from MS-13 leaders.

Gutierrez's attorney would not comment Wednesday.

Singas says they're still looking into alleged MS-13 members in New Jersey who greenlighted the killings.

Read more:
6 suspected MS-13 members indicted in teen's slaying
Police: Lawrence shooting victim is teen from Far Rockaway

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