Man who pleaded guilty to dumping body in Greenwich is ‘remorseful’ for her death, lawyers say

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Da Silva

Da Silva

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GREENWICH — Ahead of this month’s sentencing, lawyers for Javier Da Silva, who pleaded guilty in the death of a 24-year-old woman and dumped her body in Greenwich 2019, say he is “remorseful” for the crime.

According to a pre-sentencing report filed this week by his court-appointed lawyers, Da Silva is taking responsibility for the death of Valerie Reyes, a bookstore worker from New Rochelle, N.Y., whom he briefly dated.

“At the outset, it must be noted that neither Mr. Da Silva nor his attorneys are attempting to minimize the seriousness of his crimes. He understands the significant effect his conduct has and continues to have on Ms. Reyes’s family and acknowledges that this court must sentence him to a substantial term of imprisonment,” wrote his defense lawyers, Mark DeMarco and Jason Ser.

Da Silva, 26, is facing 30 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to one count of kidnapping resulting in death in Federal District Court in New York on Feb. 4, 2020, a year to the day that Reyes’ body was found in a suitcase off Glenville Road in Greenwich. She died by asphyxiation.

“Mr. Da Silva has expressed true, heartfelt remorse for the crime that he has committed. ... In fact, the greatest remorse he feels is for the pain and suffering caused to Ms. Reyes and her family,” his defense lawyers said.

According to the sentencing documents, Da Silva came to the U.S. in 2017 to flee the economic collapse that his native nation of Venezuela endured. His father drove a truck and managed a service station, and his mother worked as a hairstylist, according to the memorandum, and Da Silva attended three colleges in Venezuela but did not earn a degree.

“In order to pay for his plane ticket to the United States, his father sold the family television and Javier borrowed the balance from his aunt,” the court papers state.

Since arriving in the United States, overstaying a visa, Da Silva worked for several companies doing disaster cleanup work and was most recently employed as a cashier and cook for a restaurant in New York City, the court papers state. He was also a heavy user of marijuana and condensed cannabis products, his lawyers said.

The lawyers included a number of testimonials from Da Silva’s family. “Mr. Da Silva’s family members extol him as an decent, generous, kind, sincere, devoted and intelligent young man,” his lawyers wrote, aiming to seek a lighter sentence from Judge Vincent Briccetti on Sept. 23.

The defense submission did not explain what motivation or rationale led Da Silva to go to Reyes’ apartment in New Rochelle the night she disappeared in January 2019, or its violent outcome.

Federal prosecutors say he struck her violently, bound her with tape and placed her in a suitcase that he later drove to Greenwich. The federal authorities also said a financial motive was tied in with the killing — he used her debit card on various occasions to withdraw approximately $5,350 in cash from Reyes’ bank account, and he also sold an iPad belonging to Reyes in the days following her death. He was arrested without incident at his residence in Queens on Feb. 12, 2019, the day before Reyes’ funeral Mass in New Rochelle.

Reyes’ body was found by DPW workers in Greenwich who spotted the suitcase off the side of lower Glenville Road. She had been reported missing by her family in the days before.

Federal prosecutors are expected to file their own pre-sentencing memorandum next week.

Briccetti will pass down the sentence in Federal District Court in White Plains, N.Y. Da Silva was being held at the Westchester County Jail in Valhalla, N.Y., until sentencing, when he will be transferred to a federal correctional facility.

His sentencing has been repeatedly postponed due to complications to the criminal justice system imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.