Who killed ‘Junior’? Lesandro Guzman-Feliz murder suspects face justice

Lesandro "Junior" Guzmán-Feliz was killed outside a bodega in Belmont, the Bronx, on June 20, 2018. Photo Credit: Marisol Diaz-Gordon

Five gang members convicted of fatally stabbing Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz face up to life in prison without parole when they are sentenced on July 16.

Lesandro
Lesandro “Junior” Guzmán-Feliz was killed outside a bodega in Belmont, the Bronx, on June 20, 2018. Photo Credit: Passaic County prosecutor’s office

The 14 suspects accused in the fatal stabbing of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz in the Bronx are facing justice nearly a year after the teenager was murdered. 

A jury found five of the men guilty of first- and second-degree murder, conspiracy and gang assault on Friday. They face up to life in prison without parole when they are sentenced on July 16.

Eight other suspects, who are accused of taking part in the assault but didn’t stab Guzman-Feliz, are facing a separate trial.

Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago, left, Jonaiki Martinez Estrella, Jose Muniz and Manuel Rivera are charged with first-degree murder. The city's Department of Correction would not provide a mug shot of the fifth suspect charged with first-degree murder, Elvin Garcia.
Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago, left, Jonaiki Martinez Estrella, Jose Muniz and Manuel Rivera are charged with first-degree murder. The city’s Department of Correction would not provide a mug shot of the fifth suspect charged with first-degree murder, Elvin Garcia. Photo Credit: Passaic County prosecutor’s office

The men are alleged members of the Los Sures set within the Trinitarios gang, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said.

On June 20, 2018, they plotted to attack a rival set of the gang called Sunset, Clark said. As they were driving in four vehicles in Sunset territory, they encountered 15-year-old Guzman-Feliz. Believing the teen was a member of the rival gang, they chased him into a bodega on East 183rd Street in Belmont, dragged him out onto the sidewalk and stabbed him to death, the district attorney said.

But Guzman-Feliz was innocent and had no gang affiliations, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said.

The brutal attack, which was caught on surveillance video, shocked the community and inspired several tips to the NYPD, helping them make the first arrests just days later. Several of the suspects had fled to New Jersey, while others were caught in the Bronx.

Here’s what we know about those involved:

The following five suspects were convicted of first- and second-degree murder, conspiracy and gang assault.

Jose Muniz, 21 at time of arrest

Muniz, of the Bronx, was the first to stab Guzman-Feliz, striking him multiple times with a machete, according to reports and surveillance video of the attack. He is seen in the video wearing a gray tank top. 

Elvin Garcia, 23 at time of arrest

Police say this surveillance image shows Elvin Garcia wearing a black mask outside the bodega where "Junior" was killed.
Police say this surveillance image shows Elvin Garcia wearing a black mask outside the bodega where "Junior" was killed. Photo Credit: NYPD

Garcia, of upper Manhattan, was the second person seen in the surveillance footage repeatedly stabbing Guzman-Feliz, according to reports. He was wearing a black mask over his face and a white tank top. Garcia’s hand was wounded during the attack, according to the district attorney’s office.

Garcia’s girlfriend testified in the trial on May 28. She told the jurors that he asked her to lie to police about how he injured his hand and that he pointed himself out in the surveillance video when it began circulating online, according to published reports. She also reportedly testified during cross-examination that he told her they did not set out to kill anyone.

Manuel Rivera, 18 at time of arrest

Police said Manuel Rivera is seen in the surveillance footage stabbing "Junior" mulitple times. 
Police said Manuel Rivera is seen in the surveillance footage stabbing "Junior" mulitple times.  Photo Credit: NYPD

Rivera, of the Bronx, stabbed Guzman-Feliz multiple times. In the surveillance video, he is seen in a black T-shirt. 

Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago, 24 at time of arrest

Santiago, of the Bronx, also stabbed Guzman-Feliz. He is seen wearing a black sweatshirt in the surveillance video. 

Jonaiki Martinez Estrella, 24 at time of arrest

Jonaiki Martinez Estrella slashed "Junior" in the throat, according to the surveillance video and reports.
Jonaiki Martinez Estrella slashed "Junior" in the throat, according to the surveillance video and reports. Photo Credit: NYPD

Estrella, of Freeport, Long Island, made the final and fatal slash wound to Guzman-Feliz’s neck. He is seen in a red hat in the video. Estrella previously served 10 months in prison for an assault in April 2016, according to records.

The following nine suspects were charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, conspiracy, gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Eight of them are expected to go on trial separately from the first five suspects.

Diego Suero, 29 at time of arrest

Suero, of the Bronx, is the suspected leader of the "Los Sures" set of the Trinitarios gang, according to the Bronx district attorney. On the night of Guzman-Feliz’s death, the group had gathered at Suero’s home to plan the attack, police said.

Suero was expected to testify at the trial for the five suspects charged with first-degree murder, according to PIX11.

Jose Tavarez, 21 at time of arrest

Tavarez, of the Bronx, is suspected of being the first in the group of attackers to enter the bodega after Guzman-Feliz. After he spots the teen, he leaves to get the others, the surveillance video shows. He is seen in the surveillance footage wearing a black baseball cap and black long-sleeve shirt.

Kevin Alvarez, 19 at time of arrest

Kevin Alvarez is accused of dragging Guzman-Feliz out of the bodega onto the sidewalk, where he was stabbed.
Kevin Alvarez is accused of dragging Guzman-Feliz out of the bodega onto the sidewalk, where he was stabbed. Photo Credit: NYPD

Alvarez, of the Bronx, was the first suspect to be arrested, just days after the murder. He pleaded guilty on May 1 in a closed courtroom, PIX11 reported, and he testified on May 20 in the trial for the five defendants charged with first-degree murder. 

Seen in a white T-shirt and black baseball hat in the surveillance video, Alvarez was one of the men to follow Guzman-Feliz into the bodega. At the trial, he said he was a "probationary" member of the gang and was following orders to bring Guzman-Feliz out of the bodega, according to a New York Times report.

He told the store owner that Guzman-Feliz was believed to be part of a rival gang that had shot one of their own, and the store owner told them to take the fight outside, Alvarez testified. He said he and another gang member punched and kicked Guzman-Feliz and then dragged him out onto the sidewalk.

When the other men rushed over to Guzman-Feliz with machetes and knives, Alvarez said he backed off and "was scared of what was about to happen," the Times report said.

Danel Fernandez, 21 at time of arrest

Danel Fernandez also is accused of dragging "Junior" out of the bodega.
Danel Fernandez also is accused of dragging "Junior" out of the bodega. Photo Credit: NYPD

Fernandez, of the Bronx, also is seen in the surveillance video dragging Guzman-Feliz out of the bodega. He was wearing a black T-shirt and a green head wrap. Fernandez appears to be holding a knife in the video, but doesn’t stab Guzman-Feliz.

Gabriel Ramirez Concepcion, 26 at time of arrest

Concepcion, of the Bronx, was arrested in July on the same day that cops picked up Suero. He is accused of driving one of the vehicles that the suspects used to track down Guzman-Feliz on the night he was killed, per reports.

Danilo Payamps Pacheco, 21 at time of arrest

Danilo Payamps Pacheco turned himself in to police in July, a month after Guzman-Feliz was murdered, cops said.
Danilo Payamps Pacheco turned himself in to police in July, a month after Guzman-Feliz was murdered, cops said. Photo Credit: NYPD

Pacheco, of the Bronx, turned himself in to police in July after the NYPD released a surveillance image purportedly of him leaving the scene in a white sedan after Guzman-Feliz was attacked. He was the 11th man to be arrested in the teen’s death. His attorney said in court last year that Pacheco is not a member of the gang, according to reports.

Luis A. Cabrera Santos, 25 at time of arrest

Santos, of the Bronx, was caught by police in July while driving on I-84 in Danbury, Connecticut. He is suspected of chasing Guzman-Feliz toward the bodega and police said he was seen in one of the vehicles associated with the attack.

Ronald Urena, 29 at time of arrest

Urena, of the Bronx, was arrested in August more than a month after the initial 12 suspects were indicted by a grand jury. Urena is accused of being in one of the vehicles that chased Guzman-Feliz toward the bodega where he was killed, according to reports.

Frederick Then, 20 at time of arrest

Fredrick Then was charged in the death of Guzman-Feliz in September, according to police.
Fredrick Then was charged in the death of Guzman-Feliz in September, according to police. Photo Credit: NYPD

Then, of Reading, Pennsylvania, was the last suspect to be charged in the case. He turned himself in to police in September about a week after the NYPD said he was wanted for questioning.

Then was the second-in-command of the gang, Alvarez testified at the trial, according to the Times. He gave the others the order to bring Guzman-Feliz out of the bodega, Alvarez said.

Nicole Brown and Lauren Cook