Junior Trial Notes: May 21
JUNIOR TRIAL DAY 8/WEEK 3: PROSECUTORS REVEAL DETAILS OF STAR WITNESS PLEA DEAL AND DEFENDANT’S RELATIVE ALLEGEDLY CURSES JUNIOR’S MOM:
All five defendants were present for court, Tuesday. Jose Muniz chose to leave court Monday claiming he was not getting a fair trial because of lack of access to the DA’s “discovery items.” Jonaiki Martinez-Estrella also considered leaving Monday for the same reason, but decided to stay.
Kevin Alvarez continued his testimony. Last June, Alvarez was captured on surveillance video beating Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz up before dragging him out of a Belmont bodega where he was stabbed to death.
Alvarez testifying that the night of Junior’s death, he and other members of the Los Sures set of the Trinitarios gathered at alleged leader, Diego Suero’s home, after the stabbing. Frederick Then AKA Colita, who was second in command, pulled up a picture on his phone of alleged Sunset members, according to the testimony. Sunset is a rival of the Los Sures within the same Trinitarios gang.
Alvarez says the group of gang members gathered around Colita trying to figure out which Sunset member they had just stabbed. Suero was asking the group, “are we sure that’s the right person,” said Alvarez recalling the conversation as the group pointed to two teen males in the photo, neither of them appearing to be Junior.
Alvarez recalls looking at the photo, now pulled up on a projector in the courtroom, the night of June 20th saying, “when I looked at the picture I didn’t see the kid we just chased and stabbed.”
Alvarez left the group of gang members as they pondered the picture, testifying, “I didn’t want to be there…I didn’t agree with what happened.”
As Alvarez describes the remainder of that June evening, he turns his body completely away from the five defendants so that he doesn’t have to look at them while testifying.
Prosecutor Morgan Dolan pulls up a group picture of alleged Los Sures that Alvarez identifies himself in.
Alvarez says the hand signal he’s making in the photo stands for DDPK, which he says means “DDP Killa.” DDP standing for Dominicans Don’t Play, a rival of the Trinitarios.
Alvarez identifies several alleged Trinitarios in the photo including Colita, Suero and Stacks, the three suspected leaders of the Bronx Trinis.
Alvarez then circles everyone who he says was present at Suero’s house before the stabbing and/or after. The list includes Jonaiki Martinez-Estrella AKA Pio, Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago AKA Huerfanito, Jose Muniz AKA Canelito, himself, Jose Tavarez AKA Flacco Patria, Olie Fernandez, Frederick Then AKA Colita and Diego Suero AKA Psycho.
Assistant District Attorney Morgan Dolan reveals the details of Alvarez’s plea agreement with the DA’s office. Alvarez agreed to plead guilty to Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree and Manslaughter in the First Degree. Manslaughter is a Class B Violent Felony that carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, according to Chris Carrion, a legal analyst following the trial.
Alvarez is offered “time served” on only the Conspiracy charge if he truthfully testifies in this trial and the second trial involving the group of second-degree Murder defendants in this case. If he does so, the Manslaughter charge should be dropped and vacated, according to Carrion. Alvarez would essentially get to walk on his Sentencing day since his “time served” would be from his arrest last June until after the verdicts of these two trials.
Prosecutors say if he does not cooperate and testify truthfully, he will face a maximum of 25 years in prison for manslaughter in connection to the Junior case. Alvarez tells the jury what it means to be dubbed a “357” by the Trinitarios, meaning a gang member is no longer good to a gang and needs to be extinguished. Alvarez admits he is now a 357, saying, “if you do something as bad as snitch they go out and look for you in groups until they find you and kill you.”
Prosecutor Dolan: “Were you aware this could be a result when you signed that agreement with my office?”
“Yes, mam,” Alvarez testifies. Prosecutors pull up surveillance video showing Junior run into the bodega from an NYPD camera adjacent to the store. One by one, Alvarez identifies the defendants in the video. Estrella shakes his head and takes his headphones off –throwing them on the table.
Four out of five of the defendants wear headphones to hear English testimony translated to Spanish. As the video plays through to the point where Junior is stabbed, Leandra Feliz, his mother, leans all the way forward in her seat to avoid watching.
Prosecutors pull up various photos in an attempt to draw connections between the Trinitarios and the defendants as gang members.
“That’s the 7 which is the number that represents the gang,” Alvarez testifies while looking at gang signs being thrown up in photos. “The green bandana represents the color of the Trinitarios and it also represents the 7 points of a warrior or a Trinitario,” he said.
“That’s the cross with the 3 fingers up which stands for God, Country and Liberty,
Alvarez says while looking at a picture. “157 is a code the Trinitarios use to represent a real Trinitario.”
Alvarez also identifies Elvin Garica AKA Rabia in photos of him lying in a hospital bed with his hand wrapped up after the stabbing. Alvarez previously testified that Manuel Rivera stabbed Garcia in the hand by accident during the attack on Junior. The wound going straight through his hand.
Alvarez testified that his gang communicated with Suero via a group chat on WhatsApp. “In the group chat, Diego was telling us – that – saying that we should all stay hidden and that he’s going to tell the Trinitarios Sure set that he is going to collect 100 dollars each…so he could get a house for us to stay in New Jersey,” Alvarez testified on the conversations after the stabbing.
Police arrested six Trinitarios connected to Junior’s death at a safe house in Paterson, New Jersey soon after that.
Alvarez starts identifying some of the alleged members of the Bad Boys who prosecutors say were involved in Junior’s attack that night, Michael “Sosa” Reyes being one of them. In earlier testimony from Detective Francis Orlando, we learned Reyes cooperated with police. There is a possibility we will see him testify before this trial is over.
Dolan says the DA is in possession of screenshots that show gang members received money in their commissary at prison via an app called ‘J Pay’ after the stabbing.
As Junior’s mom was leaving the courtroom she claims she was cursed at by two of who she believes are female relatives of one of the defendants. It is not clear which one, and the suspected family members were not immediately available for comment, but Feliz alleges they wanted to fight her.
The DA says she has roughly 20 more witnesses including the Medical Examiner. Cross Examination of Alvarez will begin Thursday.