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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 29, 2019

Two Men Convicted Of 1997 Double Murder In The Bronx

Geoffrey S. Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ROBERT ACOSTA and JOSE DIAZ were convicted of the December 22, 1997, murders of Alex Ventura, 25, and Aneudis Almonte, 20.  The convictions follow a three-week trial before U.S. District Judge Kevin P. Castel. 

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “More than two decades ago, two young men were brutally murdered in a Bronx stairwell.  Although the case went cold, members of the NYPD and the FBI worked tirelessly to solve it.  A unanimous jury has now held Acosta and Diaz responsible for this terrible crime.”

According to the evidence presented during the trial:

In the 1990s, ACOSTA was the leader of a large-scale drug trafficking organization that distributed hundreds of kilograms of cocaine out of several buildings in northern Manhattan.  In the summer of 1997, the murder victims stole more than $200,000 in drug money from a stash apartment that belonged to ACOSTA.  To retaliate, ACOSTA hired DIAZ to kill both men. 

On December 22, 1997, DIAZ and a co-conspirator (“CC-1”) lured the victims to an apartment building in the Bronx, ambushed them in a stairwell, and murdered them both.  CC-1 stabbed 20-year-old Almonte six times, including once in the chest.  DIAZ shot Ventura, 25, in the head from point-blank range.  In exchange for these murders, ACOSTA paid DIAZ $12,000.      

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ACOSTA, 47, of Yonkers, New York was convicted of murder while engaged in a conspiracy to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine (Counts One and Two), conspiracy to commit murder for hire (Count Three), and murder for hire (Counts Four and Five).  DIAZ, 53, of the Bronx, New York was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder for hire (Count Three), murder for hire (Counts Four and Five), and the use of a firearm to commit murder in furtherance of a crime of violence (Count Six).  ACOSTA and DIAZ each face a mandatory sentence of life in prison. 

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

This case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Laurie A. Korenbaum, Michael K. Krouse, and Nicholas W. Chiuchiolo are in charge of the prosecution.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
19-105
Updated March 29, 2019