The five gang members who slashed a New York teen to death with a machete and knives last year after mistaking him for a rival have been sentenced to decades in prison.
Video surveillance showed the men dragging Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz out of a Bronx bodega on his back and stabbing him with long knives and a machete. The teen wanted to be a police officer and was a member of a New York Police Department youth outreach program.
The men—Jonaiki Martinez Estrella, Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago, Manuel Rivera, Jose Muniz, and Elvin Garcia—were found guilty of first-degree murder and other charges in June this year. Their sentences Friday ranged from 23 years to life in prison
“My son was a good kid, he only was 15 years old, he was doing the best in the school, at the time when the tragedy happened,” said Leandra Feliz, the victim’s mother.
On the night of the attack, the gang members were in four cars when they saw Guzman-Feliz, according to prosecutors. He had left his home and had just given money to a woman he knew in the neighborhood when they approached him, prosecutors said.
They got out of their cars and confronted the teen, who then fled to a bodega four blocks away. The gang members followed him into the store and dragged him outside, where he was assaulted on the street.
Guzman-Feliz was stabbed and slashed with knives and a machete in the neck and body. After the attack, he ran to a nearby hospital, but collapsed at the entrance and died a short time later.
2 Gang Members Guilty of Killing 9-Year-Old Boy
In a similar story, two men were found guilty of first-degree murder on Oct. 4 for planning the 2015 revenge slaying of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee in a Chicago alley.
Corey Morgan, 31, showed no emotion when the verdict was announced one day after fellow gang member Dwright Doty was convicted of first-degree murder. The jury deliberated about 10 hours.
Doty, 22, with Morgan and another defendant waiting nearby, lured the boy from a park into an alley and shot him pointblank in the head, prosecutors said.
Tyshawn’s small body was left crumpled on the concrete in a case that shocked a city long accustomed to gang violence.
“Even at a time when we’ve become nearly numb to headlines about violence, this case shook us to our core,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in a statement.
“I think often about Tyshawn’s 4th grade classmates who returned to school and sat beside an empty desk following this egregious murder and will be graduating 8th grade without their friend on stage later this school year. The trauma is far-reaching and impacts us all.”
Foxx added: “We hope that this verdicts brings some measure of closure and peace for the family of Tyshawn Lee, whom we will never forget.”
Morgan was tried in the same courtroom but before a separate jury.
Prosecutors said the boy was targeted and “executed” as revenge after Doty and Morgan suspected the gang that Tyshawn’s father belonged to was behind the killing of Morgan’s brother.
“He has the motive,” the prosecutor said of Morgan. “This was a 9-year-old boy that was targeted and executed.”