’15th man’ in Junior Bronx bodega case, long cooperating, was actually arrested last August

THE BRONX — A cooperating witness in the Junior case who turned himself in to police last June 23 was not formally arrested until August 16, almost two months after the teen’s bodega slaying, it was revealed at the trial Thursday.

His name is Michael Reyes, known as “Sosa,”—and prosecutor Morgan Dolan had said in her opening statements that Reyes was a member of the “Bad Boys” set of the Trinitarios gang.

On Thursday, defense attorney Toni Messina elicited more information about Reyes’ importance to the prosecution’s case from Detective Francis Orlando of the Bronx Homicide Squad.

“Was he one of the first people to go into the bodega?” Messina asked.

“Yes,” the detective responded.

“Is he now a cooperator in this case?” Messina queried.

“Yes,” the detective replied again.

Messina then showed a freeze frame of murder suspect Kevin Alvarez taken from surveillance inside the bodega.

“Is he one of the men who grabbed Junior, hit him and dragged him out?” Messina asked.

“Yes,” said Detective Orlando.

“Is he now a cooperating witness?” Messina asked, referring to 20-year-old Alvarez.

“Yes, he is,” Orlando replied.

Messina then made a statement, “None of them told you there was ever a plan to kill Junior,” which drew a prosecution objection that Judge Robert Neary sustained.

Later, when the prosecutor had a chance to conduct re-direct with the detective, Dolan asked why Reyes and Alvarez were allowed to make plea deals with the police and prosecutors.

“Because we had no witnesses to identify anybody in the case,” Orlando said.

Earlier, Amy Attias—who represents Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago—reminded the jury and the detective more than once that Kevin Alvarez was one of two people who dragged a terrified Junior out of the bodega on Bathgate Avenue to his fate on the sidewalk.

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