Warning: Details of Friday’s testimony are graphic in nature and may be disturbing to some.
THE BRONX — As they rested their case in the “Junior” murder trial Friday, prosecutors turned to the medical examiner who performed the teen’s autopsy, offering graphic detail of the wound that killed the 15-year-old almost a year ago.
The knife used to deliver the lethal blow to Lesandro “Junior” Guzman Feliz last June 20 went clear through the teen’s neck, causing him to bleed to death, the medical examiner, Dr. Sophia Rodriguez, testified.
There were gasps from the courtroom as Assistant District Attorney Morgan Dolan presented the graphic photos of Junior’s wounds during the testimony of the prosecution’s final witness.
She detailed the fatal path of the knife through the teen’s neck, which left a gaping hole on one side and a puncture wound on the other.
“The knife made it from the right side to the left, hit the muscle, hit the (jugular) vein, went behind the throat, hit the tissue on the back side of the mouth,” Dr. Rodriguez said.
Dr. Rodriguez confirmed what was already revealed in her report: that Junior’s cause of death was a “stab wound to the neck” that came “from a knife 4 1/2 inches in depth — cutting his jugular vein.”
Dr. Rodriguez said it’s possible if pressure was applied to the wound and Junior was brought to the hospital earlier, he could have survived. After Junior was stabbed outside the Bronx bodega, he is seen in surveillance video clutching his neck and attempting to run to the nearby hospital, where he eventually collapsed on a sidewalk and bled to death.
Junior suffered multiple wounds to his face, back, chest, legs and hands. The medical examiner testified the wounds on his back and legs were consistent with being dragged.
Wounds to his hands believed to be caused by a sharp object, “possibly a knife,” were considered to be “defensive wounds” where Junior put his hands up to protect his face.
The defense team asked Dr. Rodriguez if any of these additional wounds contributed to the teen’s death. She replied that the wounds they spoke of were superficial and that the only wound that caused his death was the one to his neck.
It’s alleged that defendant Jonaiki Martinez Estrella plunged the knife into Junior’s neck near the end of the 20-second attack.
Martin Goldberg, defense attorney for Jose Muniz — who once cried in court during his arraignment — said his client was made the “poster boy” for Junior’s horrific death, because Muniz was seen carrying a machete.
Goldberg hammered the medical examiner to get his point across that his client did not cause any physical injury to Junior, because a machete would have resulted in decapitation or mutilation.
Junior’s parents, Leandra Feliz and Lisandro Guzman, were not present in the courtroom during the medical examiner’s testimony.
Now that the prosecution had rested its case, the defense can begin to question witnesses next week, and once that process is done, closing arguments will begin.