Two Men Sentenced To Life In Prison For 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 sentenced in Manhattan federal court today. Both men were sentenced to life in prison for their roles in the December 22, 1997, murders for hire of Alex Ventura, 25, and Aneudis Almonte, 20, in the Bronx, New York. The defendants were convicted following a three-week trial before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel, who imposed today’s sentences.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As the jury found, Acosta and Diaz committed two brutal murders in the Bronx more than 20 years ago. As a result of the skill and determination of our law enforcement partners, the defendants will now spend the rest of their lives behind bars for their horrible crimes.”
According to the evidence presented during the trial:
In the 1990’s, ROBERT 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 drug money from ACOSTA. To retaliate, ACOSTA hired JOSE 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 Almonte six times, including once in the chest. DIAZ shot Ventura in the head from point-blank range. In exchange for these murders, ACOSTA paid DIAZ approximately $12,000.
* * *
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York Police Department, and the Special Agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
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.