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On Man Convicted of Killing Federal Witnesses US Asked for 2 Life Sentences Gets One

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 7 – William Jones is on trial for Conspiracy to Murder a Federal Informant To Prevent Communication to Law Enforcement. Inner City Press is covering the case, from 2021 into 2023 and beyond.

     On September 23, 2021 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Edgardo Ramos held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it.

  Judge Ramos asked if the capital decision had been made. It has not. But the "Special Finding" have been set forth.

The killing was in Suffolk County, New York, after abduction from The Bronx on December 28, 2019.

Jump cut to June 28, 2023. In the SDNY Magistrates Court, with Inner City Press the only media there, Jones was arraigned on a superseding indictment. He had three lawyers at the table. His trial is set for October 2, 2023, and Speedy Trial Act time was excluded until then by SDNY Magistrate Judge Sarah L. Cave. Inner City Press intends to cover the trial.

On September 7 the US filed an additional protective order for 3500 material citing the violent nature of the case. The defense is seeking to keep out the autopsy photos of Frederick Delacruz.

On September 21, after yet another defendant in the case passed through the Magistrates Court, Genaro Castro was brought in after self-surrender in the Western District of North Carolina. He was nevertheless detained, on danger grounds.

In October 2023, the trial was on - and Inner City Press went. Cooperators Castillo and Rivera were on the stand, testifying as to the rules of retaliation, hand signs, meetings and dues. The prosecution wants a Detective Jiminez to testify about what the decedent, his CI, told him.

  The defense objects, as hearsay. But the prosecution argues that Jones made the witness unavailable. That's what we're hear for, to decide, the defense lawyer said.

But apparently that finding of Jones' role can be made on a preponderance of the evidence, not reasonable doubt.

On October 10 Detective Jiminez was on the stand, testifying about getting de la Cruz out of trouble in NJ and then Connecticut. Played for the jury was de la Cruz' last voice mail to Jiminez, that "they are taking me out to Long Island." 

On October 11 Jones' lawyer in closing argument picked up a weapon from the prosecutors table and said it was a cooperating witness who knew more about it. He cited Judge Ramos' "lengthy by well done" legal instruction. Next up: a verdict.

It came on October 12: "WILLIAM JONES, a/k/a “Principe,” was convicted by a jury of racketeering conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, and firearms offenses for his role in the murder of Frederick Delacruz on December 28, 2019.  The defendant was found guilty on all counts following an eight-day jury trial ..murder through the use of a firearm, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison."

On December 8, Jones' lawyers informed Judge Ramos that after consultation with Mr. Jones, the defense will not be filing post-trial motions. Judge Ramos then set sentencing.

On April 19, 2024, the US wrote in and asked for two life sentences.

On May 7, 2024, Jones got life in prison - one life sentence: "WILLIAM JONES, a/k/a “Principe,” was sentenced today to life in prison for the December 2019 murder of Frederick Delacruz."

On October 25, DOJ notified Judge Ramos it will not seek the death penalty against a co-defendant: "LETTER by USA as to Genaro Castro addressed to Judge Edgardo Ramos from USA dated October 25, 2023 re: the Government's Decision Not to Seek the Death Penalty Against Genaro Castro Document filed by USA. (Rodriguez, Justin)."

Note: Castro's Federal Defender was present in the gallery throughout Jones' trial...

The case is US v. Jones, 21-cr-505 (Ramos / Willis)


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