MS-13 member should do 35 years for role in murder of teen in East Boston, prosecutors say

A member of the feared MS-13 street gang who helped carry out the brutal murder of a teenager stabbed nearly 50 times in East Boston should spend 35 years in prison, prosecutors said Tuesday.

In a legal filing submitted in US District Court in Boston, prosecutors made their sentencing recommendation for Edwin Diaz, 20, also known as “Demente,” who pleaded guilty in May to a federal RICO conspiracy charge linked to the slaying of 16-year-old Cristofer Perez de la Cruz.

Diaz faces sentencing on Aug. 20. His lawyer couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

In their filing Tuesday, prosecutors included horrific details about the January 2016 killing of Perez de la Cruz, who was lured to an East Boston street under the pretext of meeting a girl and then ambushed.


“Diaz was one of three MS-13 members who stabbed the victim so many times that the victim was left with 48 sharp force injuries, and they slashed the victim with such force that they damaged the blades of their large knives on the victim’s skull,” prosecutors wrote. A fourth MS-13 member shot the victim multiple times. Diaz also said he wished he had been able to cut off the victim’s head.

Authorities have said previously that Perez de la Cruz was targeted because the killers believed he belonged to a rival gang.

Prosecutors wrote Tuesday that they would be seeking more than 35 years for Diaz, if not for his age at the time of the killing — he had recently turned 18 — and his acceptance of responsibility before trial.

The filing also included photos of the three bloodied knives used in the attack.

“As if the murder itself was not bad enough, Diaz was then captured on tape boasting about the murder using the most callous and heinous language,” prosecutors wrote. “Diaz described how he had ‘zero mercy, zero, nothing’ when he was murdering [Perez de la Cruz].”


Diaz also talked on tape about how the murder was “awesome’” and he said he wanted to kill again, prosecutors said. Prosecutors also quoted Diaz as saying that he wanted to inflict further damage on Perez de la Cruz even after the boy was dead. “I want to go back . . . and do something worse,” Diaz said.

Prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation comes as part of a plea agreement filed in May. Diaz faces a maximum term of life in prison, according to the agreement. He’ll also be subject to deportation proceedings when he completes his sentence.

In a separate court filing last month, Diaz’s lawyers disputed claims that he told people that an MS-13 clique in El Salvador had sent him to Massachusetts to set up gang operations in the Boston area.

“Since there was limited schooling in the rural countryside where defendant grew up, and jobs were limited to subsistence agriculture, defendant’s father sent money home to the family to help pay the way for defendant to come to the United States so that he could obtain a better education and better employment opportunities,” Diaz’s lawyers wrote.

They also denied that Diaz had recruited gang members at East Boston High School.

“Rather, he was focused on his studies and learning English,” his lawyers wrote.

Diaz’s accomplices in the slaying are also awaiting sentencing for their roles in the murder, records show.


Travis Andersen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.