The five people accused in the mistaken identity murder of Bronx teen Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz have been found guilty.
A jury found them guilty on all counts Friday, including first degree murder and gang assault, CBS New York reports.
The tragic fatal stabbing happened nearly a year ago outside of a Bronx bodega. Prosecutors said Junior “fought like hell” to escape his killers, who thought that he was part of a rival gang. Junior’s story moved many, prompting people to call for justice in his name on social media with the hashtag, #JusticeForJunior.
During deliberations, jurors asked to rewatch graphic surveillance video showing the moment of the attack, and to rehear testimony alleging the murder was planned to target a member of a rival gang. His parents were among those anxiously waiting to hear the verdict.
“I’m not going to have my son back. But those killers, those murderers, they were going to be outside killing another kid,” Junior’s mother Leandra Feliz told reporters. “My son was a good kid. He only was 15 years old. He was doing the best in the school at the time when that tragedy happened. He was in the [NYPD] Explorers program. He was a really good kid. He never been into any problem in his life until those killers murdered my son.”
“The message going through to the people, see what happened to those killers,” she said. “If they continue to do violence in the city, they’re going to get the same thing.”
Bronx DA Darcel Clark said the verdicts bring justice to Junior.
“We hope the verdicts bring closure to the family after so much pain,” Clark said. “Junior came to symbolize all of the young people who have lost their lives to brutal gang violence. Today’s verdict fortifies the Bronx community’s stand against violence.”
Murder 1 comes with a mandatory sentence of life in prison and the defendants are facing the max of life without parole. Sentencing is set for July 16th.
Nine other suspects are also accused of taking part in the assault and they will be tried at a later date.
We will keep you up-to-date on this story and ask that you keep Junior’s family in your prayers!