Man sentenced to prison, likely deportation in murder-for-hire case

Twenty-eight-year-old Gerardo Carrillo, who had taken part in a failed murder-for-hire plot two years ago, apologized as he was sentenced Tuesday in New London Superior Court to three years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder.

Carrillo, who was living in Westbrook when he was arrested by New London police in August 2011, is likely to be deported to his native Mexico immediately upon completion of his prison sentence due to his immigration status, according to his attorney, Kevin C. Barrs.

According to the state, Antonio “Wilson” Peña of New London had arranged to pay Carrillo and Elmer Melendez of New London a total of $15,000 to kill a rival drug dealer.

“The defendant admitted his role in the murder was to stab the victim to death,” said prosecutor Christa L. Baker.

The men had gathered clothing, a knife and gun and were headed to the New London apartment of Oscar “Tato” Valentin when they were stopped by New London police, who had been tipped off by an informant. Valentin has since been arrested on federal drug-distribution charges and is awaiting trial.

“The reality is, I’m very sorry,” Carrillo said through a Spanish interpreter. His attorney said Carrillo had tried to back out of the plot but was afraid that harm might come to him or his family if he didn’t participate. Carrillo had no criminal history and was working full-time when he was arrested, according to Barrs. Carrillo, who had a drooping eye when he was first arrested, has since been diagnosed and treated for myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disorder.

Judge Susan B. Handy told Carrillo that he appeared to have been a hard worker who was somewhat involved with his family before he got involved in this “most outrageous of plans.” Now, she said, he is paying a price that includes the prison sentence and likely deportation.

“Thank heavens someone contacted the police before this man was executed or you would be here on murder charges,” she said.

Peña, the mastermind of the plot, is serving an eight-year prison sentence. Melendez, who was to have held the gun on the victim while Carrillo did the stabbing, is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison.

— Karen Florin

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