Maryland teen sentenced to 50 years in MS-13 linked killing

RIVERDALE, Md. (AP) — A Maryland judge has sentenced a teenager to 50 years in prison for his role in the killing of a 14-year-old girl who was beaten and slashed with a machete in a gang-related attack last year.

Prince George’s County Circuit Court Judge Cathy Serrette sentenced Josue Fuentes-Ponce, 17, of Bladensburg, on Monday, news outlets reported. He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, participating in a gang and conspiracy charges in October.

Ponce was part of a group of teens linked to the gang MS-13 who lured Ariana Funes-Diaz into a tunnel at a Riverdale park in April 2019, police and prosecutors said. The girl was then beaten with a baseball bat and slashed with a machete, according to autopsy results. The teens were afraid Ariana would tell authorities about a kidnapping and robbery the group committed hours earlier, Prince George's County police said.

Co-defendant Joel Escobar, 18, pleaded guilty to the same charges and is scheduled for sentencing in February. Edwin Rios, 19, is set for trial in April on charges of murder, assault, participation in a gang resulting in death and conspiracy to commit murder.