Press Release


Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced today that Dennis Vassilenko, 18, has been indicted by a Queens County grand jury and arraigned in Supreme Court on murder charges. A female co-defendant is charged in the indictment with hindering prosecution. On July 7, 2021, Vassilenko allegedly shot a 17-year-old across the street from a Corona restaurant and bar then jumped into a car fleeing the scene.

District Attorney Katz said, “This was a brutal killing of a teenager – another tragic example of the mayhem and heartache caused by easy access to illegal guns. The defendant in this case will face justice in our Courts – along with the co-defendant who allegedly aided him in his escape from the scene.”

Vassilenko, of 72nd Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, was arraigned yesterday before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder on a three-count indictment charging him with murder in the second degree and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. Justice Holder set Vassilenko’s return date for October 8, 2021. The defendant faces up to 25 years-to-life in prison, if convicted.

Defendant Stephanie Pena, 20, who also lives on 72nd Street in Brooklyn, was arraigned on September 9th before Justice Holder on the same indictment that charges her with first and second degree hindering prosecution and obstructing governmental administration. Pena’s return date is also October 8, 2021. If convicted, this defendant faces up to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison.

According to the charges, on July 7th, the defendants are both observed on surveillance video exiting a black SUV parked near 96th Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Corona, Queens. Shortly thereafter they are observed walking with the victim, 17-year -old Eduardo Hernandez-Martinez and after a few minutes the defendants and the victim go their separate ways.

Continuing, the DA said, Vassilenko and Hernandez-Martinez are subsequently observed walking together again toward 95-48 40th Road when defendant Vasselinko allegedly  pulls out a firearm and shot the victim twice in the torso. Vassilenko then allegedly ran to the same black SUV from earlier, which was parked across the street from where the shooting occurred, entered the backseat, and the car was driven away from the scene.

Hernandez-Martinez was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died from the injuries.

The investigation was conducted by Detective Thompson Wen, of the New York City Police Department’s 110th Precinct Detective Squad and Detective Andrew Alloro, of the NYPD’s Queens North Homicide Squad.

Assistant District Attorney Franchesca Basso and Kaitlyn Gaskin, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, are prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Peter J. McCormack III, Senior Deputy Bureau Chief, John Kosinski and Karen Ross, Deputy Bureau Chiefs and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Major Crimes Daniel A. Saunders.

**Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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