Suffolk D.A.: Shirley man pleads guilty to 2020 murder

Suffolk D.A.: Shirley man pleads guilty to 2020 murder

Peter Pendzinski

Peter Pendzinski Admitted to Shooting and Setting Nathanael Rodriguez on Fire

Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney announced on April 12 that Peter Pendzinski, 24, of Shirley, pleaded guilty to Murder in the Second Degree and other related charges, for fatally shooting 21-year-old Nathanael Rodriguez, of Bay Shore, in December 2020.

“This defendant brutally murdered Nathanael Rodriguez by shooting him in the head and neck and attempted to cover up his crimes by desecrating the victim’s body by setting it on fire,” said District Attorney Tierney. “Thanks to the quick thinking of the Suffolk County first responders on scene, the defendant’s plan to cover up his crime was quickly foiled. This defendant’s conduct in the commission of this murder warrants a lengthy prison time, which we will seek at the sentence.”

According to court documents and the defendant’s statements during his plea allocution, on December 26, 2020, at approximately 12:00 a.m., Pendzinski, who was driving a Mercedes Benz, picked up the victim, Rodriguez, from his home in Bay Shore. The victim got inside of Pendzinski’s vehicle and sat in the passenger’s seat. Shortly thereafter, Pendzinski pulled out a revolver and shot Rodriguez five times in the head and neck, killing him. Pendzinski then drove from Bay Shore to his home in Shirley with Rodriguez’s body still in the front passenger seat.

Once Pendzinski arrived at his residence, he moved Rodriguez’s body to the backyard where he placed leaves over him. Pendzinski proceeded to pour gasoline over the victim and set his body on fire. A 911 caller reported excess smoke coming from an open fire at Pendzinski’s residence. When Suffolk County police officers responded to the location, they observed Pendzinski shoveling leaves onto an open fire. When officers asked if anyone was inside of the home, Pendzinski lied and said yes. While officers were attempting to gain entry into the home, Pendzinski moved Rodriguez’s burning body to the other side of the backyard. When officers realized what Pendzinski was doing, he was swiftly stopped and placed under arrest.

During law enforcement’s investigation, detectives observed the passenger side window of the Mercedes Benz was damaged from the shooting. Law enforcement recovered a saw, a pair of pliers, and floor mats covered with blood in Pendzinski’s driveway, some of which contained Rodriguez’s DNA. Additionally, a Smith and Wesson handgun and a can of gasoline were recovered in a detached garage.

On April 12, 2024, Pendzinski pleaded guilty before Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro, to one count of Murder in the Second Degree, a Class A violent felony, and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon, Class C felonies. Pendzinski is due back in court on May 17, 2024, and is expected to be sentenced to 18 years to life in prison. Pendzinski is represented by Christopher Gioe, Esq.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Melissa Grier of the Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Bureau, and the investigation was conducted by Detective Jeffrey Bottari of the Suffolk County Police Department’s Homicide Unit.