Former MS-13 member, pathologist testify at trial of woman accused of helping plan murders

Leniz Escobar allegedly got the men to the Central Islip park by offering them marijuana.

News 12 Staff

Mar 28, 2022, 9:59 PM

Updated 751 days ago

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A former gang member and a pathologist testified Monday in the trial of a woman accused of luring multiple men into the woods to be murdered by MS-13 gang members.
Leniz Escobar allegedly got the men to the Central Islip park by offering them marijuana.
A former MS-13 gang member, David Antonio Gaitan-Rivera, took the stand Monday and allegedly was a friend of Escobar.
Gaitan-River was driving with Escobar when he was arrested in 2017. He says she told him that she and another person took five men to the park and four were killed by gang members with sticks and machetes.
Dr. Michael Caplan, the head pathologist who worked with the Suffolk County Office of the Medical Examiner in 2017, also testified Monday. He gave some details on the injuries he observed on the victims, including blunt force and sharp object injuries on all of their heads.
The doctor says there was evidence of recent marijuana use in two of the victims on which he performed autopsies.
The sole survivor of the attack, Alexander Ruiz, already testified that the gang ordered all of the men onto the ground in the park. He was able to run and survive.
Prosecutors say Ruiz pretended to be in MS-13 on social media, which the gang sees as disrespect punishable by death.
The defense claims Escobar was never an MS-13 associate and did not help plan the murders.
Escobar pleaded not guilty to all of the charges she is facing.


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