Judge hands down stiff sentences to 5 convicted in 'Junior' slayingPosted: Updated:
One by one, the five men convicted in the murder of Belmont teenager Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz began hearing their sentences Friday morning.
Jonaiki Martinez Estrella was sentenced to life without parole Friday at Bronx Criminal Court. Next, Jose Muniz was handed an indeterminate sentence of a minimum of 25 years for his role in Junior's death. Manuel Rivera was sentenced to 23 years minimum. Antonio Santiago and Elvin Garcia were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
The men, suspected to be Trinitarios gang members, were found guilty back in June. Muniz, Estrella, Rivera, Santiago and Garcia were convicted on charges of murder, gang assault and conspiracy.
Police say they were part of a group with more than a dozen men, all suspected to be gang members, that was looking to harm an enemy gang member last year.
They say the group mistook Junior as a rival member and dragged him out of a bodega in Belmont before fatally attacking him with machetes and knives while he fought for his life.
"I was under the influence of alcohol and drugs, I didn't know what I was doing," said Estrella in court.
Jose Muniz also told the court that murder was not on his mind saying, "I was there but did not have that intention, which is why I used the other side of the machete."
Muniz told the court he drops to his knees to pray for Junior's family every night in his cell. He also accused Junior of being present at the shooting of his friend.
This is a claim Junior's family denounces.
Elvin Garcia told Junior's family, "I'm sorry. I feel horrible for the things that happened and things I have done."
Lesandro "Junior" Guzman Feliz's mother Leandra Feliz rejected what the killers had to say before they were sentenced.
"I do not accept any apologies because the only thing I want is my son back," said Leandra Feliz.
Photos showed what appeared to be Jose Muniz flashing a gang sign on Friday.
The death of Junior sparked an outcry across the U.S. to put an end to brutal gang violence. Hundreds of "Justice for Junior" supporters have stood by his family as they sought justice.
"That night there were two deaths — Junior and I, left dead inside," said Leandra Feliz.
Junior's father says he will never forgive the men for murdering his son.
The sentencing was originally set for July, but has been pushed back three times because the defense kept submitting motions questioning aspects of the guilty verdicts.
Another eight men charged with second-degree murder are expected to appear in court later this month. They're accused of taking part in the chase that led to Junior's killing.
- A judge denied bail Thursday for one of the six defendants in the murder case of Bronx teen Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz.A judge denied bail Thursday for one of the six defendants in the murder case of Bronx teen Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz.
- The Manhattan College Jaspers honored the mother of slain Bronx teen Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz during a basketball game Saturday.The Manhattan College Jaspers honored the mother of slain Bronx teen Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz during a basketball game Saturday.
- The mother of Lesandro ‘Junior’ Guzman-Feliz stood on the steps of City Hall Wednesday to declare her support for Junior's Law, saying it can protect kids in the future.The mother of Lesandro ‘Junior’ Guzman-Feliz stood on the steps of City Hall Wednesday to declare her support for Junior's Law, saying it can protect kids in the future.
- The next set of defendants in the Lesandro "Junior" Guzman Feliz waived their scheduled court appearance Tuesday.The next set of defendants in the Lesandro "Junior" Guzman Feliz waived their scheduled court appearance Tuesday.
- Lesandro "Junior" Guzman Feliz would have celebrated his 17th birthday on Monday.Lesandro "Junior" Guzman Feliz would have celebrated his 17th birthday on Monday.