NEW YORK — PIX11 News confirmed Friday that Witness A in the June 2018 murder of 15-year-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz is a cooperating witness who said he was in a getaway car with two of the teen’s stabbers.
The cooperating witness was among the alleged gang members telling store employees that Junior had robbed one of their grandmothers, trying to coerce the owner to give the teen up to the mob, which had chased Junior for five blocks.
The now-cooperating witness is seen leaving the bodega before Junior is dragged out and stabbed by five assailants, who were wielding knives and a machete.
The witness told a detective he did not see the actual stabbing but, once he viewed the surveillance videos, he identified most of the people now accused in the case.
“As we showed him video, ‘Witness A’ was telling us ‘who was who,’” a homicide detective from the 48th Precinct testified in court Thursday.
The witness first showed up at the 48th Precinct in the Bronx to talk to detectives three days after Junior was attacked the night of June 20, 2018.
“The witness came into the command,” the detective testified Thursday.
When the prosecutor asked if the witness was under arrest, the detective replied, “Not at that time.”
The witness said he was in one of the getaway cars immediately after the murder with suspects Jose Muniz and Jonaiki Martinez Estrella.
The Bronx detective had quoted the witness in court.
“Jonaiki told him he stabbed the kid in the neck,” the cop recalled, referring to Junior.
The detective said the witness identified suspect Antonio Rodriquez Hernandez Santiago as one of the stabbers.
The suspect had a nickname.
“The name was Welfanito,” the detective testified. “They had met in 2016 at a location where the Trinitarios hang out, Morris Avenue and Kingsbridge Road.”
The detective said, “Witness A accessed social media at the precinct, Facebook, to get a photo of Welfanito. We printed it out.”
The witness told the cop that Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago used to be part of the “Sunset” crew of the Trinitarios but had switched to the “Sure” set.
The detective added, “Witness A stated Welfanito was the one who came from behind with a hoodie and stabbed Junior.”
The testimony revealed that Witness A had only met some of the accused stabbers for the first time on the day of Junior’s murder.
Police said one of those people was Elvin Garcia, who allegedly covered his face with a black scarf during the attack.
The detective testified, “Witness A could not identify this individual. Witness A had met this individual that day. This person was driving the black car, and he saw him stabbing on the video.”
The witness said he knew another accused stabber, Manuel Rivera, since 2015 and they would see each other about three times a week. They had become very close.
The person referred to suspect Jose Muniz as “Risa” and said Muniz was menacing inside the getaway car, as they headed back to an apartment on Boston Road.
The detective quoted Witness A regarding Muniz: “As he was holding the machete, he said, ‘You see this? If you tell anyone what happened, you know what will happen to you.’”
The pre-trial hearings in the Junior murder case are expected to resume Tuesday.
Five defendants stand accused in the first trial of first-degree murder, because they’re charged with using the weapons to carry out the killing.
PIX11 reported this week that at least one of the five wants to make a plea bargain to potentially get less time in prison.
Clarification: The name of the witness has been removed from this story.