Eight remaining alleged gang members who are facing second-degree murder charges for last year’s slaying 15-year-old New York boy may not see a criminal trial as the district attorney is reportedly open to them pleading guilty to lesser charges.
From WPIX, Assistant District Attorney Morgan Dolan revealed in court Monday that they’ll allow the eight men to plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter for the June 20 slaying of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz. Trials for the accused Trinitarios gang members Frederick Then, Ronald Urena, Jose Tavarez, Danel Fernandez, Gabriel Ramirez Concepcion, Diego Suero, Danilo Payamps Pacheco, and Luis Caberasantos are expected to begin on September 23.
A group of men followed and attacked 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.
Surveillance cameras 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. He reportedly bled to death steps from the emergency room.
The New York Post noted that the eight men awaiting trial are accused of playing a role in Guzman-Feliz’s murder but not partaking in the attack. Authorities have identified Suero as the gang leader who directed underlings to track down and attack rival members.
News of a possible plea deal comes days after five men were found guilty of the teen’s first- and second-degree murder. The five men convicted Friday, Santiago Rodriguez, 24, Joniki Matinez, 24, Jose Muniz, 21, Danel Fernandez, 21, and Manuel Rivera, 18, are scheduled to sentenced next month.
Two defendants, Kevin Alvarez and Michael Reyes, testified in the initial trial and agreed to take the stand in any subsequent proceedings. In exchange, Alvarez was offered time served while prosecutors will drop manslaughter charges against Reyes, according to reports.
“My son was a good kid,” the slain boy’s mom said after Friday’s guilty verdicts, according to the Post.
“He was only 15 years old…he had never been into any trouble in his life until those killers—those murderers—murdered my son.”
Continuing coverage on the trial can be read here.
[Featured image: Lesandro Guzman-Feliz/Facebook]