Posted on: June 7, 2017
MS-13 Gang Member Enters Guilty Pleas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 7, 2017
Contact: Heather F. Williamson
Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office
20 East Market Street
Leesburg, VA 20176-2809
MS-13 GANG MEMBER ENTERS GUILTY PLEAS
LEESBURG, Virginia – June 7, 2017. Jose Miguel Espinosa De Dios, 19, appeared before Judge Stephen E. Sincavage in Loudoun County Circuit Court and entered Alford pleas of guilty to first degree murder and felony use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.*
On the morning of September 4, 2015, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a shooting in Sterling. Deputies responded to the area and located an unresponsive Hispanic male suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. The victim was transported to INOVA Fairfax Hospital where he was pronounced dead by medical staff.
Witnesses indicated that they had seen a young male shooter fire multiple gunshots at the victim as he walked from his home to a nearby school bus stop. Subsequent investigation by law enforcement revealed that the victim was affiliated with the 18th Street criminal street gang and that he had been involved in a conflict with rival members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) criminal street gang.
Espinosa De Dios was identified as a suspect later the same day, and law enforcement executed a search warrant on the home where Espinosa De Dios was located. The gun used to shoot the victim was found in the freezer of the home. Espinosa De Dios initially denied involvement in the shooting, but later admitted to shooting the victim. Espinosa De Dios advised detectives that the gun was provided to him a week prior for the purpose of killing the victim. He further explained that he had experienced problems with members of the 18th Street gang in the year leading up to the shooting.
Espinosa De Dios continues to be held in the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center without bond, pending scheduling of a final sentencing hearing in the Loudoun County Circuit Court.
*Pursuant to Alford v. North Carolina, an Alford plea is one where the defendant maintains his innocence, but enters a guilty plea because he believes it to be in his best interest rather than proceeding to trial.