New York Man Who Murdered Hartford Gang Leader
June W. Stansbury, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England and Kevin J. O’Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that FAUSTO GONZALEZ, age 34, formerly of the Bronx, New York, was sentenced this morning by United States District Judge Janet B. Arterton in New Haven to a lifetime term of imprisonment, and an additional five years, for his role in the 1996 murder of Theodore “Teddy” Casiano. In October 2004, GONZALEZ was convicted by a jury of conspiring to commit a murder-for-hire, committing interstate murder-for-hire, and using of a firearm to kill Casiano.
“Individuals involved in gang activity and other forms of organized crime should know that the federal penalties for engaging in extremely violent behavior can be equally extreme,” U.S. Attorney O’Connor stated. “When appropriate, this Office will vigorously prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent.”
The United States sought the death penalty against GONZALEZ. However, the jury determined that the appropriate sentence for two of the counts of his conviction to be life. The jury hung when determining the appropriate sentence for the third count.
According to documents filed with the Court and evidence presented during the trial, in 1996 GONZALEZ committed a brazen motorcycle “hit” of Teddy Casiano in broad daylight at a busy intersection in Hartford. GONZALEZ traveled from New York to Connecticut to commit the murder, which he performed while seated on the back of a racing motorcycle. GONZALEZ shot Casiano 13 times while Casiano’s car was stopped at a traffic light. Casiano was, at the time, the leader of the Savage Nomads street gang in Hartford. His murder was ordered by Wilfredo Perez, the head of a rival gang that Casiano had threatened to rob only a few days before the murder. GONZALEZ and his associates were paid $6000 collectively for the murder.
GONZALEZ will be returned to New York where he faces separate murder charges. GONZALEZ is alleged to have committed several murders in New York, including two that occurred within 10 days of Casiano’s murder in Hartford.
In addition to GONZALEZ, five other individuals have been convicted for their roles in the Casiano matter. Wilfredo Perez and Jose Antonio Perez were convicted at separate trials for their role in ordering, paying for, and assisting in the murder of Casiano. Mario Lopez, who drove the motorcycle used in the “hit,” has pleaded guilty to charges relating to the murder, as has Santiago Feliciano, who took the motorcycle back to New York after the murder was completed. Raymond Piña, who traveled to Hartford with the killers on the day before the murder, was convicted at trial of obstructing the grand jury investigation. Wilfredo Perez and Jose Antonio Perez have been sentenced to life imprisonment plus five years, and Pina was sentenced to 10 years. The other defendants await sentencing.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Hartford Police Department.