Circuit Court Judge Benjamin N. A. Kendrick this week sentenced Jordy Jose Bonilla, 18, to serve 43 years in state prison for the November 2016 murder of an Ashburn man.
Bonilla is one of three suspects who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the case and is the first to be sentenced.
Each of the three defendants also pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated malicious wounding, two counts of malicious wounding by mob, two counts of gang participation, two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and two counts of shoot, stab, or wounding another in the commission of a felony.
The investigation began Nov. 4, 2016, when deputies were called to the Ashburn Meadows apartment complex for a report of a stabbing. They found a male victim bleeding from his neck, hand and leg. The victim said he had been attacked in the woods behind the apartment complex, near a creek. When deputies searched that area they found Guillermo Piedra-Espinoza, who was dead with stab wounds to his back. The victim identified Bonilla as one of the attackers. Jose Otoniel Chicas Guevara and Oscar Fabricio Lopez Nieto were later identified as suspects.
Although under age 18 at the time of the crime, all three were tried as adults.
The victim told investigators that he received a text from Bonilla inviting him and Piedra-Espinoza to Bonilla’s apartment complex to party with some females. The victims agreed and accompanied Bonilla to a wooded area near the apartment complex. Bonilla left the woods to get the females. When he returned, he was carrying a large knife and was accompanied by Chicas Guevara and Lopez Nieto. Bonilla told the victim that he had recently joined MS-13 and had been given a mission to kill someone. A short time later, Bonilla attacked the surviving victim, while Chicas Guevara and Lopez Nieto attacked Piedra-Espinoza with knives, according to evidence provided in the case.
Bonilla was arrested Nov. 9, 2016, in Hempstead, NY. He told investigators that Piedra-Espinoza was targeted because he was a member of the rival 18th Street Gang.
Bonilla pleaded guilty to the charges on Dec. 21, 2017.
At Monday’s sentencing hearing, Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Angela Vernail said Bonilla had been exposed to MS-13 in El Salvador and was able to get away from it, but then chose to seek it out and join.
“[Bonilla] selected a friend, an acquaintance. [Bonilla] knew what he was doing, it was planned, it was deliberate,” Vernail said.
In addition to the 43-year sentence, Bonilla received an additional 25 years of suspended time. Upon his release, he will be placed on supervised probation for 25 years. Bonilla also was ordered to pay $14,000 in restitution.
Chicas Guevara, 18, also was in court this week when his guilty plea was formally accepted. He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 15.
Lopez Nieto, 17, pleaded guilty on April 5. He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 13.
Both face up to life in prison.