Two alleged gang members have been arrested in connection with the brutal 2012 slaying of a 22-year-old man in a Bronx McDonald’s parking lot after another man was wrongly imprisoned for his death, the I-Team has learned.
Jose Rodriguez, 26, and Jesus Reyes, 24, were indicted Monday in the death of Hansell Arias who was seen on surveillance video running from a group in Claremont after he had been stabbed at a nearby mechanic shop.
Rodriguez and Reyes made a brief court appearance on Monday afternoon. They were charged with murder and gang assault, law enforcement sources told the I-Team.
The development in the case comes a little more than a month after the I-Team reported that a 27-year-old man, who had been jailed for two years at Rikers after wrongly being accused of murdering Arias, reached an $800,000 settlement with the city.
A 27-year-old Bronx man jailed for two years at Rikers awaiting a murder trial before the charges against him were dropped has reached an $800,000 settlement with New York City, he exclusively told NBC 4 New York’s I-Team.
(Published Wednesday, March 8, 2017)
That man, Enger Javier, had repeatedly denied any involvement in the slaying, but it wasn’t until February 2016 that the district attorney dropped the charges against him.
It was the surveillance video that eventually exonerated Javier, who had originally filed a $20 million notice of claim against the city for false arrest and malicious prosecution.
The video didn’t surface publicly until private investigator Manuel Gomez, who had been hired by Javier’s family, got his hands on it. It shows Javier standing on a sidewalk, holding a soda cup, as the group chases Arias. Arias was stabbed to death moments later.
Interviewed at the time the I-Team reported Javier’s settlement with the city, Gomez said he had identified the “real killers” — all members of a notorious street gang called the Trinitarios — and tracked them to Facebook, where he says one boasted about the Arias murder.
Gomez said he had provided a mountain of evidence to the district attorney’s office and homicide detectives in the 44th precinct that implicated at least two of the gang members in other crimes, including a 2010 machete attack in Manhattan.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has not commented on the case, while the Bronx District Attorney’s Office said it began re-investigating the Arias murder after the charges against Javier were dismissed and that there’s been a careful review of the evidence.