One of three suspects charged in the Sept. 4, 2015, murder of a 17-year-old Park View High School student in Sterling pleaded guilty today to a misdemeanor charge.
Henry Ernesto Dominguez-Vazquez, 21, appeared in Loudoun County Circuit Court this afternoon to plead guilty to a charge of accessory to murder after the fact. The charge was reduced by prosecutors from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Judge Douglas L. Fleming sentenced him to 12 months in jail. Dominguez-Vazquez has been in custody for 13 months and was expected to be released with time served.
The alleged shooter in the case, Jose Miguel Espinosa de Dios, 18, is set for a 10-day trial starting Dec. 5 on a charge of first-degree murder.
A charge of accessory to murder against a third suspect, Dominguez-Vazquez’s brother Juan Moiser Aguirre Zelaya, was dropped last spring.
Espinosa de Dios is accused of gunning down Danny Centeno-Miranda as he walked to the school bus stop on the morning of Sept. 4, 2015. According to testimony in prior hearings, the 18-year-old is an MS-13 gang member known as “the Mexican” or “the enforcer” in Sterling. He allegedly shot Centeno-Miranda twice in the back. Centeno-Miranda was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he died.
Espinosa de Dios was 17 at the time of the shooting but has been charged as an adult.
According to evidence submitted in support of the Dominguez-Vazquez’s plea agreement, deputies canvassing the neighborhood knocked on the door of a North Sterling Boulevard home and were greeted by Zelaya,who allowed officers to enter. Inside, a detective recognized Espinosa de Dios from a previous investigation of MS-13 gang activity.
Investigators got a search warrant and found the murder weapon in the freezer. Dominguez-Vazquez was taken for questioning and told detectives that Espinosa de Dios arrived at his home around 8:30 a.m., after the shooting and discussed with Zelaya where to hide the revolver. Dominguez-Vazquez reported that Espinosa de Dios said he attacked the victim first. He also said Espinosa de Dios used his phone to call El Salvador after the shooting, an call investigators said was likely to report the attack to the gang’s leadership, according to court documents.