5 get prison for mistaken-identity gang killing
NEW YORK (AP) — Five men were sentenced to prison on Friday for the brutal stabbing death of a teenager who was mistakenly targeted as a gang rival.
State Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary pronounced the sentences for the June 2018 killing of 15-year-old Lesandro Guzman-Feliz.
The victim, known as “Junior,” was followed into a Bronx bodega, dragged onto the street and stabbed with knives and machetes.
The crime triggered protests demanding “Justice for Junior.”
Guzman-Feliz, who lived about a block from where he was slain, wanted to become a police officer. He was a member of the NYPD Explorers program, which introduces young men and women to careers in law enforcement and criminal justice.
A video of the attack showed a bread knife piercing his neck and delivering the fatal blow.
The judge sentenced Jonaiki Martinez Estrella to life without parole. Jose Muniz, Elvin Garcia and Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago got 25 years to life and Manuel Rivera got 23 years to life.
“Junior came to symbolize all of the young people who have lost their lives to brutal gang violence,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in June, and the verdict “fortifies the Bronx community’s stand against violence.”
Eight other defendants are scheduled to go on trial on Oct. 22.