By Justin Jouvenal, The Washington Post
Maria Reyes snapped her eyes shut as monitors in the Fairfax County courtroom lit up. Not only had the MS-13 attackers taken her daughter’s life, they also had filmed her final, agonizing minutes.
Now the clips were the central piece of evidence in a murder trial in the death of 15-year-old Damaris Reyes Rivas, a high-profile case that helped propel MS-13 to a top issue in the Virginia governor’s race.
Damaris appeared on the screens with chubby cheeks, stonewashed jeans and a black T-shirt that read ” ‘Ello Darling.” She looked young, like a girl ready for the mall.
But she was in snow-dusted woods in Springfield, Virginia, on a brilliant January day, surrounded by taunting associates of MS-13. One ominously clicked a cigar cutter while the girl was told in Spanish that she might lose a finger. They warned Damaris that they had a rifle and gas.
They shouted at her, demanding information about her role in the slaying of their clique leader, Christian Sosa Rivas, who was set up and killed with machetes, tree limbs and rocks in Prince William County about a week earlier. They blamed Damaris for luring him to his death.
Then the screen faded to black. Tears rolled down the cheeks of Maria Reyes.
She would have to endure more horrific clips before a jury returned a verdict of guilty of second-degree murder Tuesday against Wilmer Sanchez Serrano, 22, one of 10 young people charged in connection with Damaris’ torture and killing.
The jury sentenced him to 33 years in prison. A judge will issue a final sentence March 23.
The videos are one of the most chilling testaments to date of the resurgence of MS-13, a gang whose brutality has claimed dozens of lives in the Washington area and up and down the East Coast in recent years.
The cruelty on display on the screens stunned the courtroom into silence and forced a grieving mother to experience her loss all over again.
Maria Reyes had brought Damaris to the United States from El Salvador at age 12 to escape MS-13, which menaces the country. But the girl had left their Gaithersburg, Maryland, home in mid-December and fallen in with members of the same gang.
Prosecutors said that Damaris was lured to Lake Accotink Park in Springfield on Jan. 8. There, he was met by Sanchez Serrano, then 21, and nine members of MS-13. The youngest were 15.
Prosecutors …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – News