Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim announced Wednesday a member of the Trinitarios gang was sentenced to 30 years in prison for racketeering and murder of a 16-year-old.
Juan Martinez, aka “KJ,” 42, of Yonkers, New York, recruited a group of hit men to kill Kashawn Phillips on September 5, 2005. The murder stemmed from a fistfight that erupted between Martinez and Phillips. The group brutally beat, stabbed and shot Phillips to death, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
“On a Labor Day weekend 12 years ago, Juan Martinez recruited a hit squad of his fellow Trinitarios Gang members to murder 16-year-old Ka’Shawn Phillips, who had earlier been involved in a fistfight with Martinez,” said Kim. “The Trinitarios Gang members recruited by Martinez brutally shot, beat, and stabbed Phillips to death in the middle of the street. While nothing can bring Phillips back, we hope his family finds a measure of solace in the justice achieved by today’s sentence. Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to aggressively prosecute all those who engage in these senseless acts of violence in our communities.”
The Trinitarios gas was a violent street gang formed in the early 1990s by a group of men in the New York state prison system. The gang eventually spread to the street.
Martinez, 30 years old at the time, and Phillips got into a fistfight at a basketball game in Yonkers. After Martinez retaliated by hitting Phillips with a machete, he enlisted other gang members to attack and kill Phillips.