From the New York Post:
Man who was supposed to testify against MS-13 gang members found dead
By Israel Salas-Rodriguez and Kenneth Garger February 5, 2020
Long Island authorities on Wednesday implied that a man set to testify against MS-13 gang members was killed as a result of criminal-justice reforms requiring prosecutors share witnesses’ identities with defendants.
Nassau County officials, including the police commissioner and county executive, announced the death of 36-year-old Wilmer Maldonado on Wednesday — while also decrying the discovery laws that took effect Jan. 1. ,,,
Maldonado was discovered bludgeoned to death behind an abandoned home in New Cassel on Sunday, according to Nassau County police.
He was allegedly attacked by nine MS-13 members in October 2018 after intervening when the group threatened two boys.
The suspects allegedly beat all three victims, stabbing Maldonado several times and knocking him in the head with a bat, officials said.
Prosecutors last December revealed Maldonado’s identity to an arrested suspect’s defense team as a result of the recently enacted laws compelling the state to turn over the names of witnesses in criminal cases.
Witness-murdering is a major cause of low closure rates for homicides in areas with gangs. LA Times homicide reporter Jill Leovy estimated about a dozen witnesses per year were murdered in South-Central L.A. in the first decade of this century, more than enough to discourage the other witnesses from cooperating too much with the cops.
I’ve long felt that the death penalty should be reserved as a deterrent against witness-murdering.
Of course, the main problem with the death penalty is that if you get it wrong, you can’t let the guy you punished out. And murder is by definition the hardest crime to get right because the best witness, the victim, is dead. And witness-murder, by intention, compounds the difficulty of getting strong witnesses on the stand.