Third Brooklyn Man Pleads Guilty To 1989 Murder

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4 mins read
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Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that LUIS MERCED pled guilty today in Manhattan federal court before U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos to charges relating to his involvement in the murder of Efren Cardenas on February 10, 1989, in Brooklyn, New York.  William Skinner and Dorian Brooks, a/k/a “Kool-Aid,” also pled guilty, on December 8, 2021, to charges relating to their involvement in the murder of Efren Cardenas.           

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Luis Merced, William Skinner, and Dorian Brooks were responsible for the murder of Efren Cardenas in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in February 1989.  Today’s guilty plea shows that we will never lose resolve in our pursuit of justice.  I commend the extraordinary efforts of our law enforcement partners and the Special Agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, who worked tirelessly to investigate Efren Cardenas’s murder.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment, and other filings and statements made in court:

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On February 10, 1989, MERCED, Skinner, and Brooks participated in a plot to shoot and kill Efren Cardenas, 30, in the vicinity of 280 Herkimer Street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.  MERCED arranged for Cardenas to deliver multiple kilograms of cocaine to an apartment building in Brooklyn, where he had recruited Skinner and Brooks to gun down Cardenas and steal the cocaine.  When Cardenas arrived at the scene, Skinner and Brooks shot him over 20 times.  MERCED, Skinner, and Brooks committed the murder in furtherance of a conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.           

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MERCED, 50, pled guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine, which carries a maximum prison term of 20 years.  During his guilty plea, MERCED admitted to his role in the murder of Efren Cardenas.  The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.  

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MERCED is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Ramos on March 24, 2022.


Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Special Agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the New York City Police Department’s Cold Case Homicide Squad.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew K. Chan, Adam S. Hobson, and Frank J. Balsamello are in charge of the prosecution.

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