Malik Weems pleads guilty to grisly murder in 2021

Malik Weems (Chemung County Jail)

Malik Weems (Chemung County Jail)

A 19-year-old Pennsylvania man this week admitted his role in the gruesome torture and murder of a 38-year-old man in New York, who was shot, burned, beaten and stabbed in the eyes before being killed.

Malik Weems of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, appeared Friday in Chemung County Court where he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 2021 killing of Juan Jose Gotay, Elmira’s NBC affiliate WETM reported.

In addition to Gotay’s murder, Weems reportedly pleaded guilty to a separate count of first-degree kidnapping in April 2021.

Weems was arrested two years ago and three others are believed to have been involved in Gotay’s death: Thomas Boviard, Eddie Marte and a boy who authorities say was 16 at the time of the murder.

Authorities have not released his name, but the three remaining defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges in Gotay’s murder.

Authorities said Gotay’s injuries before his death were a clear case of torture.

He was shot in the shoulder and leg, stabbed in his eyes with a sharp instrument, suffered burns to his ears and buttocks, suffered mutilations of his tongue, was kicked and punched and suffered broken ribs and fingers, authorities said. The kidnappers took him alive to Potter County, Pennsylvania, where he was found dead and tied to an electrical cord along Route 6 in April 2021, authorities said. The kidnapping is said to have taken place at the end of January 2021.

Weems, Marte and Bovaird were initially charged in New York with first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree assault.

Thomas Bovaird and Eddie Marte (Chemung County Jail)

Thomas Bovaird and Eddie Marte (Chemung County Jail)

Weems and Marte have also been charged separately for allegedly kidnapping a man named Joseph Waters in April 2021 and holding him for 12 hours for ransom during a home invasion.

Marte, 26, pleaded guilty in Ontario County in December to charges of burglary, robbery, kidnapping, criminal possession of a controlled substance and multiple weapons charges related to the crime involving Joseph Waters.

Ontario District Judge Brian Dennis sentenced him to 15 years in prison in February, according to a Finger Lake Times report. He is serving his sentence at Attica Correctional Facility in Wyoming County, New York.

Weems is due to appear in court again on July 14 for his hearing on the verdict. He faces a maximum of life imprisonment.

Alberto Luperon contributed to this report.

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