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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, June 13, 2019 1:00 am

Nation

Teen in MS-13 gets 55 years for attack

Associated Press

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. – An MS-13 street gang member was sentenced to 55 years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to racketeering charges for his role in the brutal massacre of four young men on Long Island.

Josue Portillo was 15 years old at the time of the April 2017 slayings. He admitted to planning the killings with other MS-13 defendants because he said they believed the four were rival gang members. The victims were lured to a park and attacked with machetes, knives and clubs.

MS-13, or La Mara Salvatrucha, recruits young teenagers from El Salvador and Honduras, though many gang members were born in the U.S.

The violence, including the 2016 slayings of two teenage girls in Brentwood, led to congressional hearings and visits to Long Island from both President Donald Trump and then U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

NC man guilty in slaying of Muslims

Moments after a North Carolina man pleaded guilty to gunning down three Muslim university students, a prosecutor played a cellphone video of the slayings in court Wednesday as one of the victims' relatives fainted, others wept and a man cursed the confessed killer openly.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 50, pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder more than four years after the February 2015 slayings and received three consecutive life sentences. New District Attorney Satana Deberry dropped plans to seek the death penalty in hopes of concluding a case she said had languished too long. Hicks burst into a Chapel Hill condo owned by 23-year-old Deah Barakat and fatally shot Barakat, his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and the woman's 19-year-old sister, Razan Abu-Salha.

Ex-Stanford coach gets 1-day sentence

A former head sailing coach at Stanford avoided prison time when a judge sentenced him Wednesday for his role in a sweeping college admissions scam at elite U.S. universities.

John Vandemoer is the first person to be sentenced in the case that exposed the lengths that some wealthy parents will go to get their children into the country's top schools. Vandemoer admitted to agreeing to help students get into Stanford as recruited athletes in exchange for money for his sailing program.

U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel sentenced him to one day in prison, which he was deemed to have served, and a $10,000 fine. Zobel called him probably the “least culpable” of those charged in the case because he didn't take any of the money for himself.