US Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announced Wednesday that a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico has issued a formal indictment against two defendants in the deaths of two trans women.
The four-count indictment includes the use of a firearm in connection with crimes of violence, theft of a car resulting in death, and the destruction of property using explosive materials. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PPR) were in charge of the investigation.
He explained that the accusation alleges that from April 21 to April 22, 2020, the defendants, Sean Díaz de León and Juan Carlos Pagán Bonilla, in complicity with each other, knowingly used and used a firearm during and in relation to with violent crimes and in the course of those crimes, caused the death of two trans women, through the use of a firearm, in violation of 18 USC §§ 924 (c) and 924 (j).
The crimes of violence underlying firearms in the crime charged with the first and second charges were a car theft and a hate crime for reasons of gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, in violation of 18 USC §§ 2119. (3) and 249 (a) (2) (UNA).
The indictment further alleges that the defendants, Díaz de León and Pagán Bonilla, shot the victims and took their motor vehicle, a white Hyundai Accent, that had been transported, shipped and received in interstate and foreign commerce, by the Force, violence and intimidation, resulting in death, in violation of 18 USC §§ 2119 (3) and 2. The indictment includes a charge of destruction of property using explosives to maliciously damage and destroy the vehicle by fire. , all in violation of 18 USC §§ 844 (i) and 2.
Assistant United States Attorney José Contreras of the District of Puerto Rico, Litigation Special Counsel Rose Gibson, and Trial Attorney Laura Gilson of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice are in charge of processing the case.
If convicted, the defendants face up to life in prison or a death sentence.