The five men who brutally killed a New York teenager with knives and a machete in a false identity case last June were found guilty of murder on Friday.
Jonaiki Martinez Estrella, Antonio Rodriguez Santiago Hernandez, Elvin Garcia, Jose Muniz and Manuel Rivera were all convicted of first degree murder, second degree murder, second degree conspiracy and second degree assault. They face a life sentence.
A jury composed of 12 people made its verdict after deliberating Thursday, according to NBC New York.
The five members, all members of the Trinitarios gang, killed on June 20, 2018 Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz, aged 15, thinking that it was somebody who was in charge. other, announced the authorities.
The video surveillance showed that Guzman-Feliz, who wanted to become a police officer, was dragged out of the body of a Bronx bodega by a group of men, then repeatedly hit by long knives and a machete. . He died from a neck cut after going to the hospital three blocks away.
After the verdict, one of the men, Muniz, left the courtroom, he shouted: "Popote, hasta muerte!" Slang for Trinitarios "until death," reported New York Times.
At a press conference after the announcement of verdicts, Guzman-Feliz's mother, Leandra Feliz, said that her son had always been a "very good kid".
"He was doing his best at school, when the tragedy happened," she said.
The teenager's brother, Manny Ortiz, said that he thought "justice had been done" and that he wanted the convicted murderers to end up in prison for life without the possibility of release. conditional. A conviction is scheduled for July 16.
At the time of his death, Guzman-Feliz was a member of the NYPD Explorers, a program aimed at people interested in a career in law enforcement or the criminal justice system.
The New York Police Service, through the Police Foundation, created a $ 10,000 scholarship fund on behalf of the teenager to give two explorers $ 5,000 to use for the first time. tuition or tuition. Recipients of the award will be announced in August.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said the verdicts were "a measure of justice" for this senseless assassination.
"Today's verdicts will not bring back Junior, nothing will be able to, but these verdicts will send a message to those who wish to commit senseless acts of violence and help us to go forward." to close this terrible chapter in the history of our borough, "said Diaz to a statement.
Nine other suspects arrested in connection with the murder of Guzman-Feliz are awaiting trial.