In a Bronx courtroom Thursday, a defense attorney tried to discredit a teen who was dragged out of bodega and murdered in a machete attack last summer alleging he was in a gang photo — a notion a detective who took the stand denied.
Five, out of 14, suspected gang leaders are on trial for the murder of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz who was killed in a savage machete attack in a Bronx bodega last summer.
A detective took the stand Thursday answering a barrage of questions from the defense about Guzman-Feliz’s character.
The detective testified that the young teen met with a friend earlier the night he was killed to give him money.
Junior Guzman-Feliz Murder Trial Begins
The first witness took the stand Monday after lengthy opening statements from the prosecution and defense attorneys for five of 14 suspected gang members charged in the death of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz. Erica Byfield reports.
(Published Tuesday, May 7, 2019)
One defense attorney tried to get the detective to say Guzman-Feliz was in a gang photo, which the detective denied.
Prosecutors say the men attacked the teen with knives and a machete leaving him to die on the sidewalk. Investigators think that the men thought the teen was a member of a rival gang in a case of mistaken identity.
The much-anticipated trial kicked off May 6 with opening statements during which prosecutors described the teen’s killing as a calculated and planned murder by the five suspects.
The trial has proven to be emotional so far. On the second day of trial, startling never-before-seen footage of the horrific, violent attack was presented by prosecutors.
The graphic footage prompted Guzman-Feliz’s mother and several supporters to break down — a gasp was even heard in the courtroom.
Guzman-Feliz’s vicious killing shocked not only the city, but the nation, for its caught-on-camera brutality that showed him being dragged outside the bodega and set upon by a gang of men who hacked at him as he struggled to defend himself. The boy was slashed in the neck and died after running to a hospital three blocks away.
Street Renamed for Slain Bronx Teen
Murdered teen Leandro ‘Junior’ Guzman-Feliz was honored in the Bronx today with a street renamed in his memory. Gaby Acevedo reports.
(Published Tuesday, May 7, 2019)
A witness took the stand last week testifying how she tried to keep Guzman-Feliz alive by talking to him, adding that her friend took off their shirt in an effort to help stop the bleeding.
Defense attorneys subsequently cross examined the witness in an effort to test her memory.
The witness said she watched the attack from an apartment window and ran downstairs to try to help. She described, in heartbreaking detail, how Guzman-Feliz looked up at her after the attack and motioned her to call 911.
He only said one word — “water,” she testified.
Following her first day of testimony last Monday, it came to light that the district attorney’s office placed the witness in protective custody after her name was released by some media outlets.
Guzman-Feliz had been part of the NYPD’s Explorers program, a group for youths interested in a law enforcement career. The New York City Police Foundation announced it planned to set up a scholarship in his name.
Since the violent attack, the community’s outpouring of love and support has been seen in a mural. Guzman-Feliz’s memory has also been honored through the renaming of a street and a summer camp at a state park, as well as prompting the “Safe Haven Bodega” program in the city.