Dec. 18, 2010 Staff Report
A Woodside man who murdered a Sunnyside resident in October 2009—and later ordered the killing of two witnesses to that crime – pleaded guilty to all charges Friday.
Gino Florencia, 32, who shot two men, one fatally in front of 45-55 48th Street on Oct. 24, 2009, had been incarcerated in Rikers Island on murder and assault charges. While awaiting trial, he ordered a hit on two witnesses to the murder, who were scheduled to testify against him in the trial concerning the murder of Edison Vera.
One of the two men targeted was Miguel Llanos, who was shot by Florencia in the original incident in the torso and arm.
Florencia, formerly of 54th Street in Woodside, pleaded guilty Friday in Queens Supreme Court to conspiracy to commit murder for the plot to kill the witnesses — and to first-degree manslaughter and assault charges for the original shootings.
Judge Gregory Lasak told Florencia he would sentence him to 33 years in prison next month.
“The defendant’s actions strike at the foundation of the criminal justice system,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “By ordering the death of two people that he had personally attempted to kill once before in order to prevent them from testifying against him, the defendant tried to silence the truth and thwart justice.”
According to the indictment, the District Attorney’s office learned that Florencia had put out word from his prison cell that he wanted to kill the two witnesses. At that point, the police set up a sting operation. Florencia spoke to an undercover police officer posing as a hit man several times and agreed to pay him $2,000 to kill the two witnesses. Florencia allegedly offered $1,000 prior to completing the killings and 1,000 once it was done.
The District Attorney, according to the indictment, said Florencia provided the undercover officer with detailed personal information about the witnesses - from their names, addresses, dates of birth and heights.