THE BRONX — The mother of slain teen Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz expressed frustration Thursday morning, as sentencing for the five Trinitarios gang members convicted of killing her 15-year-old son was delayed a third time.
Defense lawyers have filed new motions in recent weeks, some seeking to have the conspiracy conviction thrown out. The five men were convicted of first degree murder, second degree murder, conspiracy, gang assault and weapons possession.
“I think the defense attorneys are trying to get attention,” Leandra Feliz said, “because the case is high profile.”
Regarding defense efforts to get the conspiracy conviction dismissed, Feliz asked, “How are they able to say that, when they know they’re members of a gang?”
The new sentencing date set by Judge Robert Neary of the Bronx Supreme Court is Oct. 11.
Pre-trial hearings for eight more men charged with second degree murder — accused of taking part in the chase that led to Guzman-Feliz’s fatal stabbing outside a Bathgate Avenue bodega — is set for Oct. 21.
Defense attorney Toni Messina, who represents Manuel Rivera, 19, the youngest gang member convicted of first degree murder, wrote a blog post this week on a site called “Above the Law.” She questioned whether it makes sense for 18 to 21 year olds to face a potential sentence of life without parole.
"Recent research shows that particularly in ‘hot’ situations (situations involving emotional arousal), young adults from 18 to 21 are more likely to act like teenagers than adults in terms of their ability to control their impulses and resist peer pressure,” she wrote.
The sentencing date was previously set to be Oct. 18, as reported in this story, though it was changed in order to accommodate security plans.