A jury convicted a 42-year-old Hampton Bays man for the 2020 robbery and murder of a “romantic rival” on Tuesday, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney.
Alcides Lopez Cambara was found guilty of second-degree murder for the death of Marco Grisales, 34, of East Hampton following a trial before Supreme Court Justice Anthony Senft. He was also convicted of first-degree robbery.
“The defendant and his accomplices senselessly and brutally murdered the victim on his birthday,” Mr. Tierney said in a statement. “While the defendant’s murderous jealousy and greed ensured that this victim would never celebrate another birthday, the jury’s verdict ensures that this defendant will spend his birthday in prison for many years to come.”
Mr. Grisales’ body was found in his pickup truck on Nov. 11, 2020 after a bystander called the police to report a disabled vehicle along Roanoke Ave. in Riverhead.
Officers and detectives at the scene launched an investigation and said it was apparent from head injuries he sustained that his death was criminal.
Prosecutors said it all started on Nov. 11, 2020, when Mr. Lopez Cambara’s girlfriend, Tyara Lemus, who was 18 at the time, received a phone call from Mr. Grisales asking to see her that night because it was his birthday, according to evidence established at trial.
Mr. Lopez Cambara overheard their phone call and became jealous. He then assembled a plan to rob the victim with the help of another man, Dennis Jonathan Hernandez Abanao, Ms. Lemus and a third man who authorities have not identified.
Ms. Lemus set up a meeting with the victim at a Riverhead McDonalds. After she met Mr. Grisales, she got into his pick-up truck and drove with him to a nearby buffalo farm to party.
The defendant and the two other males were already at the farm waiting for to rob Mr. Grisales. Once he and Ms. Lemus parked, he was dragged out of the car and bludgeoned to death with the barrel of a shotgun.
Mr. Hernandez Abanao and Ms. Lemus stole jewelry and other valuables from his car. The defendant tore a gold chain from Mr. Grisales’ neck and then his lifeless body was put in the bed of his own pick-up truck by the three men.
Mr. Lopez Cambara then reportedly drove the vehicle away from the scene, abandoning it along Roanoke Avenue.
In the days following the murder, Ms. Lemus used an alias to call the police and provide information about the other individuals involved in the crime.
She and Mr. Lopez Cambara were arrested and charged with Mr. Grisales’ murder and robbery on December 9, 2020. Ms. Lemus pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery for her role in the crime. Mr. Hernandez Abanao pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted murder and both are awaiting sentencing, officials said.
Ms. Lemus’ testimony at the trial gave a detailed description of Mr. Lopez Cambara’s involvement in the crime. Her testimony was corroborated by surveillance videos from both the McDonald’s and a nearby hospital, Peconic Bay Medical Center, that captured the both vehicles as they travelled to the location of the murder, according to the press release.
Cell phone records from both Ms. Lemus’ and Mr. Lopez Cambara’s cellphone were also used as corroborating evidence. A download of Ms. Lemus’ phone unveiled WhatsApp conversations where Ms. Lemus and Mr. Lopez Cambara discussed their plan to lure Mr. Grisales to the scene of the crime.
The evidence also included items obtained during the execution of a search warrant at the home shared by Ms. Lemus and Mr. Lopez Cambara which included Mr. Grisales’ jewelry and the shotgun used to murder him. Prosecutors said the gun was “adorned with a distinctive bejeweled skull.”
Mr. Lopez Cambara is facing 25 years to life in prison and will be sentenced Jan. 13.