THE BRONX — A Bronx homicide detective testifying in the first, pre-trial hearing for the murder of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz on Monday said a gang member admitted that he was the “head guy” of the Trinitarios Sure set and then identified the five suspects now going on trial for Murder 1 charges.
The man, known as Witness C, shared the information with investigators at the 48 NYPD Precinct in connection with the fatal stabbing of Guzman-Feliz, 15, at a Bronx bodega in June.
PIX11 News has confirmed through a law enforcement source that Witness C is Diego Suero, who was accused last July with giving the order to “hit” a member of a rival set of the Trinitarios.
At the hearing, Detective Oscar Rosa of the Bronx Homicide Squad testified about his debriefing of Suero at the 48th Precinct, more than a week after 8 suspects had already been arrested in the case.
“He explained to me he was the head guy. The boss,” Detective Rosa stated. “He was the leader of the Sure’ set.”
Referring to Suero as “Witness C,” Detective Rosa said the suspect told the cop all five suspects charged with Murder in the 1st degree were at a meeting at his Boston Road apartment before and after Junior’s brutal stabbing.
Witness C also said the nine other defendants charged with Murder 2, including himself, were at the meeting as well.
Witness C talked about Elvin Garcia, who sustained a stab wound to his left hand and allegedly tried to cover up his involvement in the teen’s murder by filing a police report in Manhattan’s 34th Precinct, a different borough.
Detective Rosa said Garcia had told him, at a different debriefing, that he got the wound during a fight in Washington Heights.
It turns out investigators from the 34th Precinct had notified Bronx detectives about Elvin Garcia’s presence in Manhattan.
Suero, or Witness C, told Detective Rosa that Elvin Garcia actually showed up at his apartment after Junior’s stabbing and “was able to show the witness his hand injury and asked the witness ‘Where should I go?’”
PIX11 News reported last fall that Garcia sought treatment for the wound at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.
Witness C then told Detective Rosa, according to the cop, that Elvin Garcia “was present for the (Junior) assault, wearing a cover across his face, and he had a slight cut across the back of his head.”
Detective Rosa testified Witness C also told him about defendant Jonakai Martinez Estrella, accused of inflicting the fatal knife wound into Junior’s neck.
“He had a red shirt and a baseball cap on,” Witness C said of Estrella. “He had switched into a white shirt.”
Witness C also talked about suspect Jose Muniz, known as “Canelito.” He told the detective of Muniz, “He was carrying a machete, which he used against the victim, as well. He was present before and after the incident at 1125 Boston Road.”
Earlier in the hearing, Detective Joseph Parchen of the Bronx Warrant Squad testified that he went to Paterson, New Jersey to pick up the first, six suspects who were apprehended at an alleged Trinitarios hideout there.
He said he encountered suspect Antonio Santiago Hernandez Rodriquez, who was handcuffed behind his back.
Detective Parchen said he told Rodriguez he was moving him to another part of the Paterson police precinct.
“He just kept saying, ‘I’m a real Dominican, I’m a real Dominican,’” the detective testified, “while puffing up his chest at me. Like he wasn’t scared. Like ‘I am who I am.’”
When Rodriguez’ defense attorney cross-examined Detective Parchen, asking if her client was puffing up his chest like a bird who’s mating, the detective quipped, “I don’t believe he wanted to mate with me, ma’am.”
Junior’s mother, Leandra Feliz, was watching the proceedings from a second row seat in court, along with her older son, Manny Ortiz.
At one point, Leandra Feliz cursed at defendant Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago, believing that he was staring back at her and others in court.
The trial date was set for April 15 for Monday’s five defendants.
They are accused of wielding the knives and machete that delivered lethal wounds to Junior on East 183rd Street and Bathgate Avenue last June.
Police said Trinitarios gang members looking for rivals that night and chased Junior. The teen ran into a bodega for help and hid behind the counter. He was dragged outside and attacked.
The teen went back into the bodega for help, but workers pointed him toward a nearby hospital. He died on the sidewalk before he could get help.