Henri Salvador Gutierrez entered the country illegally in 2014. Since then he has been arrested at least three times and found to have tattoos that indicate he is a member of MS-13. He was also found carrying knives and a machete. Authorities wanted to deport him as an active gang member so this summer he faced an immigration judge. Gutierrez and his expert witness convinced the judge his weapons and tattoos were innocent. Just about one month later, Gutierrez participated in the murder of a 17-year-old, part of an MS-13 gang killing. The Boston Herald reports six members of the gang have been indicted for the murder:
Six members of the ruthless MS-13 gang were indicted for racketeering in connection with the murder of a teen in Lynn, with the feds saying bail should be denied because they pose a serious threat to the public.
“The nature and circumstances of the (charges) are troubling and horrific,” a federal criminal affidavit reads.
That includes killing 17-year-old Herson Rivas on Aug. 2 with a large knife like they were “chopping wood.”
One of the accused, according to the affidavit, stabbed the defenseless teen “with such force his knife became warped during the attack.”
Gutierrez has gang tattoos and was arrested for carrying weapons and wearing gang colors prior to the murder. He had been in detention for seven months when an immigration judge decided the evidence he was a gang member wasn’t convincing and released him. From the Boston Globe:
Investigators had “determined [him] to be a risk to public safety as a verified and active member of the MS-13 gang in the Boston metro area,” Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Sean Connolly wrote in the report, which was used last summer in the teenager’s deportation proceedings.
But the immigration judge, Judge Mario J. Sturla, questioned the veracity of that evidence, citing, in part the testimony of Thomas Nolan, a retired Boston police lieutenant who has studied intelligence centers like Boston’s…
In his June 22 decision, Sturla also cited Gutierrez’s cognitive disabilities, his testimony that he was abused in El Salvador, which he left to flee gang violence, and his stated desire to improve his life as factors in the decision.
“Lastly, the court finds that the respondent has made attempts to rehabilitate himself after multiple arrests for carrying knives and machetes,” Sturla wrote in his decision. “The respondent testified that he wants live a peaceful life.”
The AP has more on what Gutierrez told the judge to explain away his tattoos and penchant for large knives.
During his immigration hearing this summer, Gutierrez downplayed the details, prosecutors say.
He said the tattoo showed his pride in his homeland since “503” is El Salvador’s country code. He said blue and white were the colors of his favorite soccer team and that a large knife he was found carrying in 2016 was to chop wood for grilling.
About a month after his release, Gutierrez participated in the gang murder. And a couple months after that, while under arrest for a firearms charge, he bragged about it to fellow arrestees. He didn’t know that one of them was working with the police and recording the conversation. Gutierrez is likely going to spend a long time in prison. Meanwhile, the judge who bought this sob-story and the expert witness who helped convince him still have their jobs.