FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 12, 2012
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Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Murder Charge
In 2011 Shooting at Northwest Washington Restaurant
-Co-Defendant Pleads Guilty to Obstructing Justice-
WASHINGTON – Alexis Pineda, 26, of Suitland, Md., pled guilty today to a charge of second-degree murder while armed for killing another patron last year at a restaurant in Northwest Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.
The defendant’s friend, Jaime Cruz, 30, of Lanham, Md., pled guilty on Oct. 4, 2012 to obstructing justice in the case.
Both men pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Honorable Robert E. Morin scheduled sentencing for Pineda on Dec. 14, 2012. Cruz is to be sentenced on Oct. 19, 2012. Pineda faces a potential maximum statutory penalty of 40 years of imprisonment. Cruz faces a potential maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison.
According to the government’s evidence, Pineda, Cruz and a friend went to the El Sauce Restaurant, in the 1200 block of Eleventh Street NW, at about 2:30 a.m. on March 27, 2011. Pineda encountered the victim, Jose Manuel Hernandez-Romero, 24, inside the restaurant. Then, without provocation, he shot Mr. Hernandez-Romero one time in the chest with a revolver.
Immediately afterward, other patrons tackled Pineda outside the restaurant and wrestled the revolver away from him. They then detained him until the police arrived. Cruz tried to pry Pineda from the other patrons and threatened to shoot them unless they released him. Cruz also assaulted one of the patrons who held Pineda. Despite the threats and assault, the patrons bravely continued to hold Pineda until the police arrived and arrested him.
In announcing the guilty pleas, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of the detectives and officers of the Criminal Investigations Division and the Third District of the Metropolitan Police Department, as well as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security. He also expressed appreciation to those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim Witness Advocate Christina Principe and Paralegal Specialists Marian Russell and Meridith McGarrity. Finally, U.S. Attorney Machen praised Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shana Fulton, David Saybolt and Alan Boyd, who prosecuted the case.