A Queens man will be serving 41 years up to life in prison for murdering a delivery worker during a botched robbery at an East Harlem playground two years ago.
Douglas Young, 40, was sentenced on April 27 for murdering Francisco Villalva Vitinio, 29, on March 29, 2021, according to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Young was convicted on March 22 of this year, just a week shy of the crime’s two-year anniversary, of two counts of murder in the second degree, two counts of robbery in the first degree, and two counts of criminal possession in the second degree.
“Francisco Villalva worked hard to support his family in Mexico and dreamed of buying a home,” Bragg said in a statement. “That dream was cut short when he was callously shot and murdered while doing his job.”
At around 10 p.m. on March 29, 2021, prosecutors said, Villalva Vitinio rode his e-bike into Poor Richard’s Playground on East 109th Street near 3rd Avenue after just completing a DoorDash delivery.
That’s when Young, who was already at the park, approached Villalva Vitinio and tried to take his e-bike, according to the charges. When Villalva Vitinio refused, prosecutors noted, Young shot Villalva Vitinio in his chest.
Young left the scene with Villalva Vitinio’s e-bike and discarded it before entering the NYCHA Dewitt Clinton Houses on East 109th Street and Park Avenue.
Officers from the 23rd Precinct found Villalva Vitinio unconscious and unresponsive, with a gunshot wound to his torso, at the park’s basketball court around 11:39 p.m. that evening.
EMTs brought Villalva Vitinio to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.
Villalva Vitinio had moved to New York City roughly 10 years ago with his sister and four brothers. He left behind a girlfriend and another brother in Xalpatlahuac, the small village he was born within the Guerrero state of Mexico.
Sergio Solano, a delivery worker and leader of El Diario de los Deliveryboys en la Nueva York, has helped lead protests calling for justice for Villalva Vitinio, from the months after he was killed to the first trial in December 2021, all the way through to Young’s sentencing.
“We started to protest,” Solano said. “We look for justice and we want more security.”
He remembered Villalva Vitinio as a hard worker who would “work, finish, go home, and then back to work” and on days when he relaxed, he would often stay at home or play basketball with friends.
Young was later identified through surveillance videos. He was arrested on May 6, 2021 at a shelter near East 112th Street and Lenox Avenue in South Harlem.
”While this sentence provides a strong measure of accountability, we can never undo this devastating tragedy,” Bragg said on Thursday. “I know his memory will continue to live on with his friends, family and community.”