Authorities say 19-year-old Ivan Silva told detectives he was robbing Uncle Buck's Laundromat on Fairfield Avenue in June to gain the approval of the MS-13 gang.
He allegedly had an accomplice, Elmer Saenz-Machado, help him by distracting the owner.
But 50-year-old James Decrescenzo was killed. An autopsy found he died from blunt force trauma and asphyxia.
DeCrescenzo managed Uncle Bucks for more than 10 years.
The suspects left without taking any money.
Silva and Saenz-Machado are both charged with murder, robbery and conspiracy.
WAKE UP WITH EYEWITNESS NEWS! Click here to download the WABC Eyewitness News Alarm Clock app from iTunes. or search WABC or 7online in the app store.
Get Eyewitness News Delivered