FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 15, 2013
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Maryland Man Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison
For 2011 Murder at Northwest Washington Restaurant
-Defendant Shot Victim Without Provocation-
WASHINGTON – Alexis Pineda, 26, of Suitland, Md., was sentenced today to 18 years in prison on a charge stemming from the killing last year of a patron at a restaurant in Northwest Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.
Pineda pled guilty in October 2012, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to a charge of second-degree murder while armed. His friend, Jaime Cruz, 31, of Lanham, Md., pled guilty that month to obstructing justice in the case. Cruz was sentenced on Oct. 19, 2012, to three years of incarceration.
The Honorable Robert E. Morin sentenced Pineda. Upon completion of his prison term, Pineda will be subject to five years of supervised release. However, he will be deported to his native country of El Salvador at that time due to his other earlier conviction for an illegal re-entry charge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
According to the government’s evidence, Pineda, Cruz and another 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. 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. Pineda repeatedly screamed, “I’ll kill him.” Despite the threats and assault, the patrons bravely continued to hold Pineda until the police arrived and arrested him.
In announcing the sentence, 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 Advocates Christina Principe and Melissa Milam, 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.