A North Carolina man was sentenced yesterday to 40 years to life in prison for the murder of a 40-year-old man in Hempstead outside of his home in January 2021.
Ruben Diego Avila Huicab, 33, was convicted after a jury trial before Judge Meryl Berkowitz on June 27, 2023, of second-degree murder (an A-I felony) and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon (a C violent felony).
The defendant was sentenced on October 31 to 40 years to life in prison. The defendant received a sentence of 25 years to life in prison for the murder conviction, 15 years in prison to run consecutively for one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, and 15 years to run concurrently for the other count.
On January 12, 2021, at approximately 8:33 p.m., Avila Huicab and a then-16-year-old co-defendant both drove in separate vehicles to the intersection of Dakota Place and Vermont Avenue in Hempstead where the victim, 40-year-old Ricardo Cardona, lived. Avila Huicab and Cardona were engaged in an ongoing dispute over payment for construction work that Cardona had done for Avila Huicab and work tools that Cardona had not returned to Avila Huicab.
On the night of the murder, Avila Huicab provided the teen with a tech 9, a semi-automatic pistol, and told him to wait in his van, which the teen was driving, while Avila Huicab contacted Cardona and convinced him to come outside to the vehicle. When Cardona approached the van, the teenager fired at him seven times, striking him five times, including in his neck and chest. Avila Huicab and the teen then fled the scene. Police arrived at Dakota Place within minutes of the shooting and pronounced Cardona dead.
Avila Huicab and his co-defendant were arrested in Maryland by local authorities on January 21, 2021. The 16-year-old co-defendant, who was charged as an adolescent offender, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is awaiting sentencing.
“Ricardo Cardona was lured into an ambush and senselessly murdered because of a petty work dispute with the defendant,” said Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly. “Avila Huicab wrote increasingly threatening text messages to Cardona in the weeks before his death, ultimately providing the weapon used to shoot and kill the 40-year-old outside of his home. Today, Avila Huicab has been brought to justice.”