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Manorville murder suspects plead guilty; face 23 years to life


Two men accused of killing an Amityville man and setting his body on fire in Manorville last year have pleaded guilty to murder charges, defense attorneys confirmed Wednesday.

During court appearances Tuesday, 19-year-old Orlen Soliz-Galvez and 22-year-old Bryan Rosales-Mejia, both of Amityville, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, the top charge against the two men, records show.

A separate charge of hindering prosecution was dismissed under the pleas. Both court-appointed attorneys for Mr. Soliz-Galvez and Mr. Rosales-Mejia said the sentence will be 23 years to life in prison.

“He is very, very remorseful,” said Joseph Hanshe of Savyille, Mr. Rosales-Mejia’s attorney.

Mr. Hanshe said his client was high on cocaine at the time of the killing and added that Mr. Rosales-Mejia was ready to accept his punishment.

“It just shows you the devastating effect of the drug problem here in Suffolk County,” Mr. Hanshe said.

Attorney Daniel Russo of Westhampton, Mr. Soliz-Galvez’s defense counsel, said the crime was a “particularly brutal murder” and claimed that his client likely didn’t physically kill the victim, but was there and helped in the murder.

“He’s as culpable as the killer, given the facts of the case,” Mr. Russo said.

Prosecutors have said Mr. Soliz-Galvez and Mr. Rosales-Mejia exchanged text messages planning to kill German Guzman, 36, of Amityville before the Oct. 14 murder.

The two men lured Mr. Guzman to a cottage before they “brutally” punched, kicked and stabbed the victim with a knife and screwdriver until he died, prosecutors said.

During their arraignment, prosecutors said the defendants used their cell phones to take pictures and videos of the victim “as he lay on the floor dying.”

Investigators said they were later able to recover evidence of the killing from the men’s cell phones.

Mr. Soliz-Galvez and Mr. Rosales-Mejia dumped his body in the Otis Pike Preserve in Manorville the day after the killing, covered it with brush and set it on fire, according to prosecutors.

Suffolk County police said a passing motorist noticed a fire on the side of the road while driving on Wading River-Manor Road near the preserve and discovered it was a burning body. The witness called 911 about 1:45 p.m. and Riverhead police were dispatched to the scene.

Mr. Roseales Mejia was arrested two days after the body was found and Mr. Soliz-Galvez was connected to the crime later that week.

The two men are due for sentencing on Sept. 8, according to online records.

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Photo: Bryan Rosales Mejia and Orlen Soliz-Galvez mug shots (Credit: Suffolk County police, courtesy)