A gang leader accused of cutting two teenage girls to death with a machete can be executed.
Jairo Saenz, of the infamous US criminal gang MS-13, has been charged with seven brutal murders.
The 24-year-old, nicknamed “Funny”, was second in command of the New York crew known as the Brentwood Sailors.
Donald Trump’s Justice Department has now authorized federal prosecutors to demand the death penalty if he is convicted of any of the murders.
Michael Johnson, Oscar Acosta, Kayla Cuevas, Nisa Mickens, Javier Castillo, Dewann Stacks, and Esteban Alvarado-Bonilla are all believed to have died from MS-13.
Nisa, 15, and Kayla, 16, were best friends who were beaten with baseball bats before being hacked to death with machetes in a particularly sadistic massacre on September 13, 2016.
Saenz was arrested in March 2017 and charged with the murder of the girls.
The following year, he was charged with additional crimes, including his involvement in the death of Oscar Acosta, who was tied up and beaten with tree branches before being cut to death with a machete.
His mutilated body was discovered in a wooded area four months later.
Saenz was also reportedly involved in the murders of Javier Castillo and Dewann Stacks, both of whom were killed with machetes in October 2016.
While in prison, he reportedly assaulted other inmates and correction officers and tried to identify cooperating witnesses, court documents have revealed.
Prosecutors have also announced they intend to seek the death penalty for Saenz’s brother Alexi, a fellow MS-13 member who has called President Donald Trump a “bloodthirsty leader.”
The Mara Salvatrucha gang was founded in Los Angeles in the 1970s as a means of protecting immigrants from El Salvador.
It is known for its cruelty and high body count, with the mutilated corpses of victims often buried in shallow graves.