Homeless man pleads guilty to machete killing at Laundry Palace


A homeless man pleaded guilty to the killing of 58-year-old Michael Oliver in March 2023, Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced.

Roberto Velasquez, 32, was charged with manslaughter before Judge Helene Gugerty on Jan. 31. He will be sentenced on March 15 and is expected to receive up to 21 and 1/2 years in prison.

Velasquez had mangled Michael Oliver with a machete at the Laundry Palace at 15 W. Merrick Road at 2:09 a.m. after a verbal spat between the two men escalated. Velasquez had reach for his duffel bag and swung it at Oliver, causing the contents of the bag to spill to the floor, including a large machete.

Velasquez then grabbed the machete and slashed Oliver twice in the back, and once on the back of his left leg just above the knee. A bloodied Oliver was rushed to the nearest hospital but later succumbed to his injuries.

Velasquez had gathered his duffle bag and the machete and left the laundromat. Nassau County police shortly tracked down Velasquez in Lynbrook and took him into custody.

“Robert Velasquez and Michael Oliver were both sleeping overnight at the 24-hour laundromat when an argument erupted and turned violent,” said Donnelly.

“Despite intensive life-saving measures, Michael Oliver tragically died at the hospital 10 days after the attack. Now, this defendant will be held accountable for his violent outburst and taking another life.”

Oliver was taken to North Shore University Hospital where he required emergency surgery. Though he survived the surgery, Oliver suffered damage to major organs due to blood loss and an infection and was placed on life support. He died 10 days after the brutal attack.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Tracy Keeton of the Homicide Bureau. The defendant is represented by Alan Schwartz, Esq.