Valentine's Day killer: Long Island man murders woman he met online in 'violent outburst'

Valentine's Day killer: Long Island man murders woman he met online in 'violent outburst'
Andrew Avila pleaded guilty to killing Rebecca Carlson (Nassau County Police, NBC New York/Screengrab)

Warning: This article contains a recollection of crime and can be triggering to some, readers’ discretion advised.

MINEOLA, NEW YORK: The 26-year-old man pleaded guilty to the killing of a 39-year-old woman on Valentine’s Day 2023, following their agreement to have sex. 

Andrew Avila admitted to first-degree manslaughter in the strangulation of Rebecca Carlson before Judge Caryn Fink. Avila's sentencing is scheduled for June 3, with an anticipated 25-year prison term.

Rebecca Carlson became target of Andrew Avila's 'violent outburst'

Andrew Avila became acquainted with Rebecca Carlson through a website where online users exchange money for sex, and they arranged to meet in person, TrueCrimeDaily reports. During the early morning hours of February 14, 2023, Carlson reportedly met Avila in his car. 

According to Donnelly, the victim declined his requests for further engagement, leading to a physical altercation in which Avila strangled her. He then disposed of her body next to a trash bin behind an Advance Auto Parts store in South Hempstead. 

DA Donnelly claimed, “Carlson was a mother who had tragically fallen on difficult times and met a cruel end because of this defendant’s violent outburst. Her family remains in our thoughts.” 

Carlson’s remains were discovered later that morning by a store employee. Avila was arrested by the Nassau County Police Department’s Homicide Squad on March 2, 2023, in Hewlett. Deputy Bureau Chief Daryl Levy of the Homicide Bureau is handling the prosecution, while Christopher Devane, Esq represents the defendant.

Rebecca Carlson struggled with addiction issues

Stephen Fitzpatrick from the Nassau County Homicide Squad commented on the victim, stating, "Here’s a girl who had a family, has children. Got into controlled substance abuse. She had an addiction" 

He further explained, "She had to supplement that problem and would resort to this type of behavior. Unfortunately, she ran into the wrong person" as NBC New York, reported.

Despite 25-year-old Avila having no prior criminal record, he is now facing second-degree murder charges, leaving not only the victim's family heartbroken but also his own family devastated. Avila's brother expressed his anguish, tearfully stating, "I don’t know what to do, I’m only 18. I’m trying to get through life," 

Police are investigating Avila’s digital footprint to determine if he has assaulted other women he met online in the past. Fitzpatrick emphasized the importance of acknowledging Carlson's significance, stating, "She's a mom, she had a family. She mattered."

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