A female MS-13 gang member was convicted of murder Monday in the gruesome stabbing death of a 15-year-old girl.
Venus Romero Iraheta, 18, was 17 at the time she stabbed Damaris A. Reyes Rivas 13 times. She pleaded guilty to murder as an adult in Fairfax County Circuit Court, and she could spend the rest of her life in prison when she is sentenced on May 25.
The killing was carried out with other members of the gang in Fairfax County, Virginia, in January 2017.
Iraheta, of Alexandria, Virginia, was one of 10 MS-13 members and associates who met Rivas, who was also involved with MS-13, at Springfield’s Lake Accotink Park on Jan. 8, 2017. The teen girl had been lured there by one of her eventual assailants, tricked into believing she was going there to smoke marijuana.
The MS-13 members were interested in revenge, prosecutors contended. They blamed Rivas for luring the leader of their local gang and Iraheta’s boyfriend, Christian Sosa Rivas, to his death in a brutal slaying that occurred on New Year’s Eve 2016.
The gang members went on to record the brutal killing of the teen girl on cell phones, and those videos were viewed in the courtroom Monday. Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh said he showed the footage of the vicious acts so the judge would understand the brutality of the murder.
Rivas’ mother, who was in the courtroom, lowered her head and cried as the videos played. Iraheta also appeared to cry at one point, wiping her eyes with a tissue, the Washington Post reported.
The three videos, shot by a gang member apparently to show his loyalty, according to prosecutors, show Rivas being interrogated by members of MS-13 in the woods. At one point, they threaten to remove one of her fingers with a cigar cutter.
She is then taken to another part of the woods and shown in the video shivering while shirtless and barefoot on the 21-degree day. The gang members then put her in a car and drove her to another wooded area. Once there, they punched and kicked her.
Soon after, Iraheta repeatedly stabbed Rivas and told her to remember her face.
Morrogh said Iraheta told investigators: “I told her, ‘I’m not going to forgive you, and you’ll remember me til the day I see you in f*****g hell.”
“Some kids are prodigies at the violin and some kids are prodigies at violence,” Morrogh said after the hearing. “This is a prodigy at violence.”
MS-13 is a violent gang based in Central America, but it has crossed into the United States, and investigators say has terrorized parts of Maryland and Northern Virginia.