THE BRONX — A tentative date was set on Friday for the first murder trial in the savage machete and knife killing of 15-year old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz.
Judge Robert Neary set a tentative date of Feb. 11, 2019.
Fourteen suspects were charged with murder, but only five are set to go on trial in the first round of court proceedings. That’s because these five were accused of first-degree murder.
The five set for trial are Elvin Garcia, Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago, Jose Muniz, Manuel Rivera and Jonaki Martinez-Estrella, who’s accused of plunging a knife into Junior’s neck, causing the fatal stab wound.
All five are alleged to have stabbed Junior with either knives or a machete. Police said Muniz was carrying the machete.
Pre-trial proceedings will be held starting January 21. It’s possible that defendants could ask to be severed from cases involving other suspects, so it’s not definite that all five will go on trial February 11th.
The men charged with first degree murder had a “torture” element as part of the indictment.
The other nine defendants are accused of second degree murder.
All 14 remain in jail pending trial. One of them, Danilo Payamps Pacheco was granted a $500,000 bail package but has been unable to come up with the money so far.
Back on June 20th this year, police said a convoy of four cars carrying Trinitarios gang members were cruising Bronx streets seeking rivals from a different set of the gang.
When they came upon Junior about 11:30 pm, they yelled out “Sunset”—the name of a rival crew. Junior reportedly became startled and started running toward a bodega near his home.
The mob started chasing the teen by car and on foot, following the panicked teen into a bodega located at Bathgate Avenue and East 183rd Street.
Junior jumped over the counter and tried to hide in the back, but a pack of angry guys came in and dragged the frightened teen out to the sidewalk.
His brutal murder was captured on surveillance cameras and cell phones, from many different angles.