The last of three men accused of a double murder has struck a plea deal in a case that started in a Woodbury condo owned by a former New York Jets player.
Jovany Henrius—whose cousin is NFL linebacker Jonathan Vilma—pleaded guilty Wednesday at Nassau County court to criminal possession of a weapon. Charges of second-degree murder and kidnapping were dropped in exchange for his plea. He faces up to seven years in prison when he is sentenced April 7 by Judge Christopher Quinn.
Prosecutors had accused Henrius, 35, of Brooklyn, and his two co-defendants of kidnapping Bronx residents Sekou Sackor and Ansu Keita from the football player’s Long Island home on March 26, 2009, killing both men and dumping their bodies in New York City. All three were arrested in 2011.
The only one of the trio who was convicted of murder in the case was fellow 35-year-old Brooklyn resident Andre Dickenson, who was sentenced last year to 15 years in prison after he was also found guilty of criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with physical evidence.
The third defendant, Kevin McLeod, 37, of Queens, pleaded guilty in 2012 to attempted criminal possession of a weapon. Murder and kidnapping charges against him were also dropped. He is scheduled to by sentenced April 6 by Judge Frank Gulotta.
Authorities had said the victims, who were African immigrants, had tried to con the trio in a so-called “black money scam” in which the victims tried to get the suspects to give them money to buy chemicals to rinse black die from dollar-size paper they alleged was real cash.
Vilma, who was traded to the New Orleans Saints and helped them win the Super Bowl a month before the murders, was not accused of any wrongdoing in connection with the deaths. He was, however, suspended by the NFL after being accused of taking part in the alleged bounty scandal in which players were reportedly paid for knocking select opponents out of games, but his suspension was later vacated. He has been a free agent since the Saints cut him last year.