The latest episode of 48 Hours features the murder of Haley Anderson, a nursing student at Binghamton University. Anderson was killed on March 8, 2018, when Orlando Tercero, a fellow nursing student, strangled her in his off-campus apartment. After her murder, Tercero drove to John F. Kennedy airport in New York and took a flight to Nicaragua.
A police statement issued a few days later by the Binghamton police named Tercero as a suspect. It stated: “This incident and the circumstances of the death [were] not a random act or involving the conduct of a stranger. The victim and male student had a previous domestic/romantic relationship. The investigation determined that the person of interest had left the United States by an international air travel flight, prior to the discovery of Haley Anderson’s deceased body.”
Nicaragua arrested Tercero a few days later and charged him with femicide. There is no equivalent to the femicide charge in the American legal system, but it accuses Tercero of killing Anderson because of her gender. The U.S. requested that Nicaragua extradite the suspect back to American soil for his trial, but this request was eventually denied. Although Tercero is a U.S. citizen who was born in the country, he also holds dual citizenship with Nicaragua through his parents.
A lot of people watching the 48 Hours episode detailing Anderson’s murder and Tercero’s trial might be wondering, where is Tercero now? Is he still in prison? Here’s what you need to know:
Tercero Was Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison & Recently Lost an Appeal to Reduce His Sentence
Tercero’s trial began on October 1, 2019, and a month later he was convicted of femicide. At his sentencing, the Nicaraguan judge handed down the maximum sentence for that crime in the country, 30 years. During the sentencing, the judge told the court that all women have the right to live and Tercero had decided to “punish” Anderson after she rejected him.
The Broome County District Attorney, Steve Cornwell, who followed the trial through video link from New York, said: “Orlando Tercero, in a cold-blooded manner, choked the life out of a young woman who we believe was probably sleeping and had been drinking. It doesn’t get any more sick and depraved than that… preying on somebody who’s helpless, and completely overpowered them, with no chance at all.”
Tercero is serving his 30-year-sentence in a prison in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, called the Directorate of Judicial Assistance or “El Chipote.” He is expected to have some credit for the year and a half he served in prison before his sentencing.
Recently, in March 2020, Tercero filed an appeal to reduce his 30-year sentence, based on the claim that he is mentally unstable. The court denied his appeal. After the appeal, Anderson’s mother, Karen Anderson, said to the court: “Thank you very much for not granting the appeal. I have not seen any remorse from [Tercero]. I’ve only seen regret that he is not going to be able to lessen his sentence. Unfortunately, I don’t even think 30 years is enough, but I appreciate all the work you have done to convict [Tercero] to the fullest extent of the law.”
There Is Still an Active Case Open Against Tercero in New York
When Nicaragua refused to extradite Tercero back to the U.S., the second-degree murder charge against him remained open in New York. Because Tercero stood trial in another country for another crime, that of femicide, he could still be prosecuted for second-degree murder in Broome County, New York. The concept of “double jeopardy” would not apply.
In the state of New York, the penalty for second-degree murder is can be up to 25 years or life in prison. Cornwell said that the charge will remain an open case until Tercero’s death unless he is extradited back to New York to stand trial.