A jury reached a verdict in the case of five suspects who were accused of murdering 15-year-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz.
Jonaiki Martinez Estrella, Manuel Rivera, Elvin Garcia, Jose Muniz, and Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago were found guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, conspiracy, and gang assault, PIX11 reported.
Estrella has been accused of delivering the killing blow.
— CBS New York (@CBSNewYork) June 14, 2019
Junior’s slaying outside a bodega in the Bronx was captured on surveillance footage, CBS New York reported.
Prosecutors said the suspects killed the teen after mistaking him for a rival gang member.
After the verdict was read, his mother said that she hopes “divine and earthly justice be served, with God. Justice for Junior,” ABC7 reported.
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) June 14, 2019
Prosecutors said the suspects were members of the Trinitarios gang and were set out to harm rival gang members before they killed Junior, NY1 reported.
Two of the suspects who were charged, Kevin Alvarez and Michael Reyes, became cooperating witnesses, the report said.
The other nine men in the case will be tried at a later date, NY1 reported. All of the defendants pleaded not guilty and face the possibility of life in prison without parole.
The other suspects are slated to appear in court on July 16.
— New York Post (@nypost) June 14, 2019
Junior, meanwhile, was part of the New York City Police Department’s Explorers Program, which is for youths interested in law enforcement, and he also dreamed of becoming a police officer.
Guzman-Feliz Honored With Street Sign
The intersection of Bathgate Avenue and East 183rd Street will now be called “Lesandro Junior Guzman-Feliz Way.” City Councilman Ritchie Torres was joined by Guzman-Feliz’s family and members of the New York Police Department Explorer program for the dedication on Feb. 27.
Thousands Came Together
Thousands of mourners said farewell to the teenager, whose brutal stabbing death shocked the Bronx community on June 20, 2018.
Funeral services were held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in the Bronx for 15-year-old Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, affectionately known as Junior, who was attacked by the gang of men outside a bodega. He collapsed and died while running to a nearby hospital after being stabbed and slashed in the neck with a machete.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he wanted to find a way to honor the teen’s memory by naming part of the Explorers program after him.
“We want the next generation of young people who want to serve in the police to know about the young man who didn’t’ get a chance to, and be inspired by him,” de Blasio said during the “Inside City Hall” live broadcast on NY1.
The Associated Press and Venus Upadhyaya contributed to this report.