Justice for Junior: Five of Teen's Attackers Get Hefty Sentences for Roles in His Stabbing Death
They all received sentences of at least 23 years to life in prison.
Some justice has been handed down for Junior.
Five of Lessandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz’s attackers have been given hefty prison sentences for their roles in the teenager’s murder.
On Friday, Judge Robert Neary sentenced 25 year-old Jonaiki Martinez Estrella to life in prison without parole, the New York Post reports. Martinez Estrella was found responsible for plunging a knife 4 1/2 inches deep into Junior's neck, an injury that ultimately killed the 15-year old.
On June 20, 2018, Junior was chased down by a group of Trinitarios gang members in a gruesome case of mistaken identity. The teenager was at a bodega in The Bronx, New York, when the gang members dragged him out and stabbed him to death.
The incident was caught on the store’s surveillance cameras. The story gripped the nation and spawned the #JusticeforJunior hashtag on social media.
Junior was not affiliated with any gang and was part of the NYPD Explorers program, with hopes of becoming a police officer.
Jose Muniz, 23, and co-defendants Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago and Elvin Garcia, both 25, were all sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Manuel Rivera, 19, was handed a sentence of 23 years to life behind bars.
“Here I am, a mother without my son…an innocent, 15-year-old boy who was not a gang member who roamed the streets with bad intentions. These criminals ripped him away from me leaving all his family and school friends,” Junior's mom, Leandra Feliz said, addressing the court.
Junior’s father, Lisandro Guzman, said he grapples with trying to find the meaning of life after his son was killed.
“My hope is that you will never have a chance to hurt another child in the way you hurt mine,” the heartbroken dad said. “My hope is that another family will never have to live with the pain of losing a child, the pain that I will have to live with for the rest of my life.”
In June, a jury convicted the five gang members of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, second-degree conspiracy and second-degree gang assault.
Eight more defendants are still awaiting trial.
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