The Bronx District Attorney’s office announced that a 31-year-old Manhattan man was indicted for a double murder near Pelham Bay Park in May 2022, shortly after his arrest last week.
Jahmel Sanders was indicted — or formally accused — last Thursday of shooting 22-year-old Nikki Huang and 22-year-old Jesse Parrilla execution-style in a car, and then setting fire to the vehicle and their bodies on Shore Road in the Bronx on May 16, 2022.
The indictment came just two days after Sanders was arrested. A source told our affiliate amNewYork that the defendant was found by the Joint Fugitive Task Force hiding out in a Bronx homeless shelter and taken into custody.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in the indictment announcement that she hopes the victims get justice.
“I hope this indictment brings some solace to the victims’ parents; they suffer the loss of their children who were burned beyond recognition,” she said.
According to the DA’s office, the investigation states that around 9:30 p.m. on May 15, 2022, Huang told friends “who are alleged gang members” that someone stole her purse in Manhattan. The DA’s announcement states that about two hours later, a man — who was not named in the announcement — was shot and killed in Manhattan. The DA’s office did not specify a connection between Huang and her friends and the person killed in Manhattan.
Then, at around 1:20 a.m. on May 16, 2022, Parrilla allegedly dropped Huang off near her home on the Lower East Side in his mother’s Honda Accord, the information from the DA’s office states. Afterward, Sanders and accomplices allegedly approached Parrilla, moved him to another car, and took the Accord.
About 20 minutes later Huang was allegedly “lured” out of her home and taken in Parrilla’s mother’s car, according to the DA’s investigation. A little while later, Sanders and accomplices were allegedly involved in a shooting in Queens with Parrilla and Huang present, before traveling to the Bronx. The DA’s office did not specify to what extent Sanders and his accomplices were involved in the Queens shooting.
At around 4:15 a.m. that same morning, Parrilla’s mother’s Honda Accord was found in flames near 870 Shore Road, outside Pelham Bay and Split Rock Golf Courses in the Bronx. When firefighters arrived on the scene, the car was engulfed in flames.
Huang suffered bullet wounds to her head and neck, and Parrilla suffered bullet wounds to his head and chest, and their bodies “were burned almost to ash,” according to the DA’s office.
“The deaths of these two young people allegedly culminated a chain of violent events in Manhattan and Queens,” Clark said. “A defendant has been brought to justice and we will hold accountable any others involved in this horrific crime.”
Law enforcement officials had been searching for Sanders since at least last July, according to the NYPD Crime Stoppers. Another suspect in the double murder, Steven Santiago, remains at large, according to amNewYork.
Sanders is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, first-degree arson, second-degree arson, third-degree arson, first-degree kidnapping, second-degree kidnapping, first-degree criminal use of a firearm, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, first-degree robbery, third-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree grand larceny.
He is due back in court on June 21.
Reach Camille Botello at [email protected] or (718) 260-2535. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes