Jury selection began at Bronx Criminal Court Monday in the trial of reputed gang members who allegedly participated in the murder of Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz last summer.
The five suspects — Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago, Jonaiki Martinez Estrella, Jose Muniz, Manuel Rivera and Elvin Garcia — have been indicted on murder, manslaughter and other charges for their alleged role in the June 20 murder of the 15-year-old. Surveillance footage from a bodega at East 183rd Street in the Belmont section of the Bronx showed Guzman-Feliz being dragged out of the store by a group of men before he was stabbed repeatedly with knives and a machete, police said.
Guzman-Feliz was killed in a case of mistaken identity, according to investigators, in an inter-gang dispute between members of two different sects of the Trinitarios street gang. The remaining suspects are due back in court in May.
Guzman-Feliz’s murder galvanized the Bronx community and members of the NYPD’s Explorers program, which Guzman-Feliz was a member of. His supporters used the hashtag #justiceforjunior to help his family, and raise awareness for the case. The campaign caught the attention and support of celebrities, including Cardi B and Carmelo Anthony.