NEW YORK — An entire unit meant to house 50 inmates at Rikers Island has been set aside for three of the men accused of killing 15-year-old Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz at a Bronx bodega, a high-ranking jail source told PIX11 News Tuesday.
Those three men – Danel Fernandez, 21; Jose Muniz, 21 and Santiago Rodriguez, 24 – have been isolated from other inmates because of threats made against them, sources said. Other inmates “want blood from them.”
“I’ve never seen an entire unit dedicated to just three suspects,” a source told PIX11.
PIX11 News obtained exclusive jailhouse photos showing the accused killers.
In the first photo, Muniz — accused of hacking the teen with a machete — is seen leaning against a wall, while two other suspects, Fernandez and Rodriguez, sit on the floor.
They are being held by themselves in the GRVC Building, a unit meant to house 50 inmates. Now, it’s being used solely for the accused Trinitarios gang members charged in the June 20 slaying.
Another photo shows suspect Manuel Rivera from the back, his curly hair dyed platinum blonde, playing cards at a table with other inmates. He’s been placed with the general population because he’s considered a lesser threat than Muniz, Fernandez and Rodriguez.
Jail population has been reduced at Rikers, so moving them into a separate unit was not an issue.
Eight suspects have been arrested in Guzman-Feliz’s killing.
A jail source told PIX11 News that the men being held at Rikers Island are the “most-watched inmates” in the city right now.
The prisoners have received death threats.
“You have every Latin gang, including the Trinitarios, after them,” the source said. "They brought a lot of heat to the Trinitarios gang, which is why they are making threats against their own right now.”
Every time those four inmates at Rikers need any kind of service, “be it medication, commissary, dentist, medical,” they are escorted by two corrections officers and a captain recording them with a handheld camera.
“The Department of Corrections is making sure they don’t mess this one up and keeping them protected,” a jail source previously told PIX11.
The suspected gang members allegedly chased Guzman-Feliz for blocks the night of June 20. The terrified teen ran so hard that he ran out of his sandals. He tried to take refuge in a bodega near his home, jumping over the counter, but multiple gang members stormed into the deli, punching him and dragging him outside, where Guzman-Feliz was stabbed with knives and the machete.
The teen was seen on camera stumbling back into the deli, seeking help, but he was directed to go to a nearby hospital. The dying boy, with a lethal wound to his neck, bled out on the sidewalk outside St. Barnabas Hospital.
Correction Officers' Benevolent Association President Elias Husamudeen released the following statement about the segregation of the suspects from the general population at Rikers:
“Housing these three dangerous inmates because they pose a serious threat to others proves two points if nothing else. It reaffirms the argument we’ve been making for years. The most effective tool we have in protecting both Correction Officers and inmates from other inmates is punitive segregation. Secondly, this is yet another perfect illustration of the Mayor’s hypocrisy- condemning the use of punitive segregation and claiming in his words, “it’s not the answer,” while actually utilizing the very same tool when it fits his political needs. We have about another 700 (mostly gang members) inmates who should be placed in punitive segregation. What is the Mayor’s plan to deal with them before a Correction Officer loses his or her life?”