FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 19, 2016
East New York Man Sentenced to 23 Years to Life in Prison for
Murdering His Mother Amidst Family Dispute
Victim was to Meet with Authorities Regarding
Alleged Crime Defendant Committed against another Relative
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 31-year-old East New York man was sentenced to 23 years to life in prison for killing his mother before she could meet with representative of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office regarding a crime the defendant allegedly committed against a relative.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant killed his own mother to prevent her from reporting him to law enforcement authorities. His reprehensible conduct has torn a family apart and he deserves the lengthy sentence that was imposed today.”
The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Apollo Hernandez, 31, of East New York, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today to 23 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog. The defendant was convicted of second-degree murder following a jury trial last month.
The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on December 17, 2014, at approximately 6:30 p.m., the victim, Ruth Maceira, 48, was home alone when the defendant, her eldest son, arrived at her Bushwick apartment. At approximately 10 p.m., the defendant repeatedly beat his mother with a metal statue and used a kitchen knife to slit her throat. As he fled, the defendant left a trail of bloody footprints, including sneaker treads, leading from the victim’s fourth floor apartment to the front door of the building, according to the evidence.
On December 20, 2014, emergency personnel were called to the victim’s apartment by a concerned relative who was unable to reach the victim. According to testimony and text messages, the victim was planning to confront the defendant regarding allegations that the defendant committed a felony offense against a younger family member, a crime that was disclosed by the younger family member earlier that year. The victim was also scheduled to meet with Brooklyn prosecutors about that matter the week following the murder.
The victim died as a result of an incised wound to the neck, according to the Medical Examiner.
When the defendant was arrested, the bottom tread of the sneakers he was wearing appeared melted. The evidence showed that melted rubber was found on the defendant’s stove after his apparent attempt to avoid being linked to the treads at the crime scene. In addition, police found a pair of jeans cut into pieces and soaking in a bucket of cleaning fluid in his apartment.
Surveillance video from the defendant’s apartment building showed him leaving his building on the day of the murder wearing a plaid hoodie, according to trial evidence. The defendant is seen on video returning to his apartment building after the murder not wearing the hoodie. A plaid hoodie, linked to the defendant by DNA, was found next to the victim’s body, according to testimony.
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Emily Dean, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Kenneth Taub, Chief.