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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Additional Charges In Connection With The Murder Of Jessica White

Joon H. Kim, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced charges against WANDY TEJADA for the June 11, 2016, murder of Jessica White, who was killed by a stray bullet while watching her children play in the playground of the John Adams Houses in the Bronx, New York. TEJADA, who was previously arrested, was charged in an Indictment returned yesterday by a federal grand jury. The case is assigned to Chief U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon.

STIVEN SIRI-REYNOSO was previously arrested and indicted for his role in the murder of Ms. White.

Manhattan Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “Our office has been committed to finding and prosecuting those involved in the senseless murder of Jessica White, who was killed while watching her children on a playground in the Bronx. Today’s indictment will not return Ms. White to her family, but we hope it provides some solace to know that the men who allegedly took her life will be held to account.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “This case clearly shows that the violence of street gangs affects innocent bystanders, not only those directly involved. While simply watching her children, a mother lost her life to selfish, careless violence. The alleged actions of these gang members demonstrate blatant disregard for the lives of the members of their communities. Eradicating street gangs remains among the top priorities of the New York Office, as we will not tolerate the destructive impact that they have on our residents.”

NYPD Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill said: "Our commitment to investigating crime—particularly a homicide as senseless as Jessica White—is unwavering. We will continue to pursue those who commit homicides, as senseless as the one alleged, with relentless focus."

According to the allegations in the Indictment[1] and statements made in court proceedings:

June 11, 2016, Jessica White was struck and killed by a stray bullet while sitting on a bench watching her three children play on a playground at the John Adams Houses where she lived. SIRI-REYNOSO, a member of the “Dominicans Don’t Play” or “DDP” street gang, was engaged in an ongoing gang dispute between the DDPs and the rival “Trinitarios” street gang involving among other things, SIRI-REYNOSO’s drug sales near the John Adams Houses. On the night of June 11, 2016, Trinitarios members tried to attack SIRI-REYNOSO. In retaliation, SIRI-REYNOSO sent TEJADA to shoot at the Trinitarios. One of the bullets fired by TEJADA struck and killed Jessica White.

* * *

SIRI-REYNOSO, 24, and TEJADA, 17, both of the Bronx, are charged in an Indictment with one count of murder through the use of a firearm in connection with a crime of violence, and aiding and abetting the same. SIRI-REYNOSO faces a maximum penalty of death or life imprisonment, and TEJADA faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the NYPD.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Drew Skinner is in charge of the prosecution.

The charge contained in the Indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and the descriptions of the Indictment set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Press Release Number: 
17-229
Updated July 26, 2017