Press Release


Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that Dennis Vassilenko, a member of the Crips 8 Trey gang, was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for the murder of 17-year-old Eduardo Hernandez-Martinez in July 2021. Vassilenko was found guilty of murder following a jury trial for shooting the teen at point-blank range in front of a barbershop in Corona. A female co-defendant was sentenced in June 2022 for her role in the incident.

District Attorney Katz said: “The defendant shot and killed a teenager on the street in broad daylight, displaying a complete disregard for a human life. Today’s sentence speaks to the relentless pursuit of my office to get guns off our streets and prosecute drivers of crime. We will continue to do this while also empowering our young people to make good choices. I hope that the justice we’ve achieved in this case provides a measure of solace to the young victim’s family.”

Vassilenko, 21, of Brooklyn, was found guilty of murder in the second degree on June 6, following a two-week jury trial. He was sentenced today by Justice Kenneth Holder to 20 years to life in prison.

Vassilenko’s co-defendant, Stephanie Pena, 23, of Brooklyn, pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution and was sentenced to one to three years in prison on June 10, 2022.

According to trial testimony and court records:

  • On July 7, 2021, at approximately 4:20 p.m., the victim, Eduardo Hernandez-Martinez, met up with Vassilenko in order to sell the defendant a quantity of marijuana.
  • Video surveillance depicts Vassilenko leading the victim from the original meeting place, which had been selected by the victim in front of a smoke shop at 96-09 Roosevelt Avenue, onto Junction Boulevard, and then in front of a barbershop at 95-48 40th Road.
  • While Hernandez-Martinez held a bag of marijuana to sell to Vassilenko, the defendant pulled a firearm out of his backpack and fired two shots at the victim’s chest from point-blank range.
  • Vassilenko immediately ran into a waiting getaway car driven by the co-defendant, Stephanie Pena.
  • Hernandez-Martinez was taken to a nearby hospital where he died from his injuries.
  • Trial evidence and sworn testimony revealed that Vassilenko is a member of the Crips 8 Trey gang who has been found guilty by the Department of Corrections of having slashed multiple inmates on Rikers Island since being remanded after his 2021 arrest.

Assistant District Attorney Eric Weinstein of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau prosecuted the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys John Kosinski, Bureau Chief, Karen Ross, Deputy Bureau Chief, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Major Crimes Shawn Clark.

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