THE BRONX (PIX11) — During the past four years, all of Leandra Feliz’s days have been steeped in suffering.
“It’s been the same day, over and over. I’m suffering. That’s my life,” said Feliz, the mother of slain 15-year-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz.
Feliz spoke to PIX11 News after two Bronx gang leaders were convicted Friday of murder for ordering the hit that killed her boy on June 20, 2018.
Defendants Diego Suero, 33, and Frederick Then, 24, leaders of the Los Sures set of the Trinitarios gang, were initially charged with murder, manslaughter, and gang assault. However, since the jury found them guilty of murder, the top charge, the panel did not need to consider the other charges, according to a spokesperson for the Bronx District Attorney’s Office.
After a lengthy trial, the jury deliberated for just over 24 hours before handing down the guilty verdict. Then and Suero are expected to be sentenced on Sept. 16. Feliz will make a victim impact statement at the proceeding, she said.
“I want them all to get life, life, life,” the mom said. “I don’t want them to ever come out.”
Junior was slain by a group of Trinitarios gang members at the corner of 183rd Street and Bathgate Avenue in Tremont. The teen was dragged out of a bodega and onto the street where he was stabbed with a knife and machete in a case of mistaken identity, authorities said.
During the trial, former probationary gang member Kevin Alvarez, who beat and hauled the helpless boy out of the store, testified that Suero, nicknamed “Psycho,” hosted a gathering at his home and put a “357” kill order on rival Sunset members of the Triniatarios. The crew armed themselves with machetes and knives, piled into four cars, fueled up at a gas station, and went hunting for their enemies when they encountered Junior walking on the street, according to officials and surveillance video.
Junior’s mom attended a few days of the trial, but mostly stayed away because she couldn’t bear to watch the painful surveillance videos capturing the last heartbreaking moments of her son’s life, she said.
“I couldn’t be in there no more,” the mom said. “I wouldn’t be able to control myself.”
Suero was not at the scene of the crime, but his No. 2, Then, was seen on video outside the bodega making sure his boss’ mission was completed, prosecutors said. The defense had argued there was never any intent to kill Junior and Alvarez’s actions caused the boy’s brutal death.
“These men, leaders of a Trinitarios set, commanded their members to go out and commit violence,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said. “The order ended the life of a promising 15-year-old boy, Lesandro ‘Junior’ Guzman-Feliz. One of the defendants stood and watched as gang members attacked Junior with knives and a machete outside a Belmont bodega. The brutality was caught on surveillance video and went viral.”
Alvarez made a deal with the state in 2019. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and conspiracy and was let off with time served in exchange for his testimony.
Five gang members were previously convicted in connection with Junior’s death during a separate trial in 2019. They are serving varying prison sentences for their roles in the attack.