June 27, 2013: 20-year-old Freddie Henriquez pleaded guilty today to one charge of Witness Retaliation, a Felony of the Third Degree. Henriquez is facing a maximum sentence of 3.5 to 7 years in prison when he is sentenced on August 8, 2013.
In February of 2012, a young woman was arrested as part of a conspiracy to “straw purchase” firearms for a group of drug dealers. A straw purchaser is someone who agrees to buy a gun for someone who can not procure a firearm legally because of his/her criminal record. After her arrest, this young woman gave a statement to police admitting her involvement and agreed to testify against the drug dealers. These drug dealers labeled her a “rat” and a “snitch.” One of those drug dealers gave a copy of that young woman’s statement to a man named Freddie Henriquez. On November 9, 2012, Henriquez decided to post all eight pages of that statement on his Facebook page and also labeled her a “rat.” Elsewhere on his page, he also had numerous postings saying “kill rats.” Henriquez’s obvious intent was to intimidate the young woman into not testifying in the case, and despite numerous requests from the District Attorney’s Office Facebook refused to remove the posts.
On February 4, 2013, District Attorney Seth Williams sent a letter to Facebook CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg asking him to remove potentially life threatening postings from the convicted felon’s Facebook page. The postings were removed later that day but it is unclear who actually removed them.
Since Mr. Williams took office in January of 2010, 1,041 witness intimidation cases have been prosecuted by the DAO, and that is just for the sole charge of witness intimation. That does not include homicide or assault charges, which sadly go hand and hand with witness intimidation charges.
ADA Andrew Wellbrock of the Gun Violence Task Force is specially assigned to this case.