CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Defendant Annmarie Drago tried to muster a nervous smile heading into intense and emotional closing arguments in a Long Island courtroom.

Hours later, flanked by her identical twin sons, she appeared drained, reports CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.

Prosecutors had just painted the registered nurse and former teacher as a manipulative, unrepentant, callous thief who stole and destroyed memorial items honoring the second-anniversary vigil for Kayla Cueves, the Brentwood teen whose body was discovered on the Drago property after being slain by MS-13 gangs.

Kayla’s parents, Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cueves, rushed to the scene to confront Drago who was behind the wheel of her SUV.

Who wouldn’t see somebody standing right in front a car,” said victim’s daughter Kelsey Cuevas.

In the words of the assistant district attorney, Drago may have “taken more care driving around a flock of geese.”

With her fiance in the passenger seat, she deliberately turned her wheel, took her foot off the brake and stepped on the gas of her 3,000-pound vehicle, crushing the anti-gang activist as News 12 witnesses looked on.

Annmarie Drago, 58, was indicted Friday in the death of Long Island mother Evelyn Rodriguez, whose daughter Kayla Cuevas was murdered by MS-13 gang members. (Credit: CBS2)

The defense called it a tragic accident, that Drago, who suffers from PTSD, had a panic attack and was focused on her rearview mirror where Cueves was shouting.

In the chaos, it was fight or flight. Drago drove off unaware Evelyn Rodriguez may have been in her blind spot.

“Is she scared? Is she fearful? Of course,” said defense attorney Stephen Kunken. “Is she a responsible driver? Of course.”

The jury now has the case and is being asked to go through the heartwrenching video frame by frame
to determine if her behavior was blameworthy.

Drago faces up to four years if convicted of criminally negligent homicide.


Leave a Reply