Justice for Junior: 5 gang members found GUILTY in teen’s mistaken-identity murder

Five men were convicted Friday for last summer’s stabbing death of a 15-year-old New York boy outside of a bodega, which was caught on video.

WPIX reported that Santiago Rodriguez, 24, Joniki Matinez, 24, Jose Muniz, 21, Danel Fernandez, 21, and Manuel Rivera, 18, were found guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, gang assault, and conspiracy for the June 2018 slaying of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz.

A total of 14 suspects, all reportedly members of the Sures set of the Trinitarios gang, have been charged in connection with Guzman-Feliz’s murder. They are believed to have targeted the teen because they thought 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.

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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 stabbing and 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.

NY1 reported that two of the suspects were seen smiling after Friday’s guilty verdict—with one of them shouting “Hasta la muerte” (“Until I die”) as they left the courtroom, a possible nod to their gang.

Two of the men accused of partaking in the slaying, Kevin Alvarez and Michael Reyes, have become key witnesses in exchange for lighter sentences. The other nine suspects will be tried at a later date.

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[Featured image: Lesandro Guzman-Feliz/Facebook]