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Daquan Wheeler, in his 30s, was charged with killing Lisa Marie Velasquez, 25, in 2018, after he initially testified that he did not do the killing, only that he assisted his girlfriend, Ciara Martinez, also in her 30s, in hiding the body, officials said.
A jury found Wheeler responsible, however, for striking Velasquez at least 14 times with a hammer, killing her, following an argument in an apartment shared by Wheeler and Martinez, court documents show.
The jury determined Wheeler’s assault was a rage-filled response to Velasquez allegedly calling 911 on him, and then he and Martinez dismembered the body, stuffing her into bags and dumping her remains in New York City parks, according to court documents.
“It was a horrifying series of acts against a woman who had come to the aid of her friend, who lived with the defendant,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in a press release following the announced verdict, the New York Post reported.
Clark added: “He mercilessly struck the victim with a hammer, then strangled her with a cord.”
Wheeler and Martinez were reportedly in a relationship together, having a “tough time,” when she called Velasquez over to the apartment for advice on Aug. 23, 2018, the New York Post reported.
Velasquez never returned home and her remains were found by police in two black bags at Crotona Park and Barretto Point Park in the days following the incident.