Blood Guilty Of Murder
Jury convicts gang member for killing man
By Mike Koehleremail@example.com
His nickname may be Speedy, but James McArthur isn’t going anywhere quickly.
McArthur, 22, a member of the Bloods gang, was found guilty of murdering a Huntington Station day laborer two years ago.
“It’s a real tragic situation. This was a truly innocent victim,” Major Crime prosecutor Glenn Kurtzrock said.
McArthur, of Melville and formerly of Huntington Station, was walking southbound on First Avenue with a friend before dawn on July 15, 2007, Kurtzrock said. At the same time, Sebastian Bonilla-Euceda and his nephews, Alexander Diaz and Juan Diaz, left Pupuseria Melissa Tavern and headed east.
Both parties ran into each other at the intersection of First Avenue and Pulaski Road, Kurtzrock said, when McArthur announced that he was going to rob one of the Honduran men.
“Watch how I rob this Spanish guy,” the defendant allegedly told his friend.
All three men were day laborers, the prosecutor said, while a substantial portion of the Hispanic population in that area are illegal immigrants. These men, he added, carry whatever meager earnings they can earn on themselves.
“He thought it’d be an easy target, someone who wouldn’t come forward and tell the police they’d been robbed,” Kurtzrock said.
McArthur supposedly approached Alexander and began patting him down. Bonilla-Euceda, 38, quickly walked in front of his nephew, not making any physical contact with the robber. However, McArthur pulled the trigger once and shot him in the chest.
Juan stayed with his uncle, while Alexander followed the fleeing shooter up First Avenue and down East Fourth Street. He abandoned the chase when McArthur began talking with a group of people, although Kurtzrock said he was asking for a ride, which he was denied.
Bonilla-Euceda died at Huntington Hospital at 2:37 p.m.
“He’s a few blocks from his house. He had worked all day, he should be able to have a few drinks with his friends and family without being gunned down for no reason,” Kurtzrock said.
A jury convicted McArthur of second degree murder and second degree criminal possession of a weapon after two days of deliberating. When Judge Stephen Braslow sentences the defendant on June 23, he could face 40 years to life behind bars.
“Obviously I’m pleased with the jury’s verdict,” Kurtzrock said. “The defense was that he wasn’t there, and the jury realized that simply wasn’t true.”
McArthur’s attorney, Dan Russo, did not return multiple phone messages for comment.
McArthur is listed as a violent felony offender due to three other shootings, Kurtzrock said, and the minimum sentence for the gun charge actually increased by a few years.
Suffolk County police arrested McArthur on June 27, 2008 for the murder, just as he was leaving Oneida Correctional Facility for another shooting on the same day.
Two hours before shooting Bonilla-Euceda, McArthur took aim at Dramane Fofana. Fofana sustained a leg wound, but survived. Prosecutors confirmed that Fofana was a member of the Crips, and that the shooting was gang related.
That attack also violated his probation from another shooting, when he lit up a car in 2004. McArthur was sentenced to a year in jail for shooting Fofana and a year and a half in prison for violating his probation. Police nabbed him for the last shooting on prison grounds.