A New York prosecutor detailed how hard a 15-year-old tried to fight off a group of accused gang members as they allegedly stabbed him to death in front of a bodega last summer.
During Tuesday’s closing arguments, Bronx assistant district attorney Morgan Dolan told the jury how Lesandro Guzman-Feliz valiantly avoided multiple attempted stabbings by a mob of men who had dragged him out of a bodega on June 20.
“This 15-year-old boy, in the moments before his death, fought and fought like hell,” Dolan said, according to the New York Daily News. “Because he resisted their efforts to stab him does not diminish their intent.”
Fourteen men have been criminally charged in connection with Guzman-Feliz’s slaying. Five men—Santiago Rodriguez, 24, Joniki Matinez, 24, Jose Muniz, 21, Danel Fernandez, 21, and Manuel Rivera, 18—are currently on trial for the 2018 filmed murder.
A jury began deliberating Thursday on the five men’s fates. WPIX reported that they’re charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter, gang assault, and conspiracy
All 14 suspects are reportedly members of the Sures set of the Trinitarios gang. They’re believed to have targeted Guzman-Feliz because they believed he was affiliated with a rival gang responsible for shooting one of their members two days earlier. However, police have said the teen’s murder was a case of mistaken identity.
Prosecutors previously said the teen succumbed to a neck wound caused by a 4-and-a-half inch knife that severed his jugular vein. Surveillance cameras reportedly caught a group of men dragging Guzman-Feliz outside a Bronx bodega before attacking him.
The injured teen was seen stumbling inside the bodega before exiting and making a run for the hospital. The teen reportedly bled to death steps from the emergency room.
Dixon’s closing arguments also included the presentation of autopsy photos showing the wound to Guzman-Feliz’s neck which reportedly killed him. WNBC reported that the grisly images brought some of the jurors to tears.
Meanwhile, the defense argued that testimony supports that the suspects didn’t mean to kill Guzman-Feliz.
“Yes, he put the knife through his neck. It’s horrific,” defense attorney Kyle Watters said of his client, Estrella.
“But he acted with intent to harm. He did not act with the intent to kill.”
Continuing coverage on the trial can be read here.
[Featured Image: Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz/Facebook]