Five men found guilty of murdering a 15-year-old boy in a shocking and violent 2018 machete attack in a Bronx bodega that was captured on video received their lengthy sentences on Friday.
The men -- described by prosecutors as Trinatarios gang members -- were initially found guilty by a jury on June 14 of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, second-degree conspiracy and second-degree gang assault for the brutal machete slaying of Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz in June 2018.
Jonaiki Martinez Estrella was sentenced to life without parole for first-degree Murder, 25 years to life for second-degree murder, 8 1/3 to 25 years for second-degree conspiracy and 15 years in prison and five years post-release supervision for second-degree gang assault, according to the Bronx County District Attorney's Office. His sentences will run concurrently.
Additionally, Jose Muniz, Elvin Garcia and Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago were sentenced to 25 years to life for first-degree murder, 25 years to life for second-degree murder, 8 1/3 to 25 years for second-degree conspiracy and 15 years in prison and five years post-release supervision for second-degree gang assault, officials say. Their sentences will also run concurrently.
Manuel Rivera was sentenced to 23 years to life for first-degree murder, 23 years to life for second-degree Murder, 5 to 15 years for second-degree conspiracy and 15 years in prison and five years post-release supervision for second-degree gang assault.
The case grabbed the attention of New Yorkers and those across the nation, given that the brutal machete killing of the 15-year-old boy that took place inside a Bronx bodega in the summer of 2018 was captured on surveillance.
Video showed the boy being dragged outside the bodega and set upon by a gang of men who hacked at him as he struggled to defend himself. Ultimately, he was slashed in the neck and died after running to a hospital three blocks away.
Investigators say the group mistook Guzman-Feliz, who was not affiliated with any gang, for a member of the rival fraction of the Trinitarios gang. In total, more than a dozen suspects have been arrested in connection to the killing.
After a weeks-long trial filled with emotional testimonies, chilling revelations and graphic photos, the jury reached a verdict in the Guzman-Feliz murder trial this past June.
The first verdict was announced against Estrella, who delivered the fatal blow with a kitchen knife that ultimately killed Guzman.
When the verdict was read, fellow defendant Muniz was heard saying "Trinitarios to the day I die" as he left the courtroom following the guilty verdicts. All five defendants — Santigo, Garcia, Rivera, Estrella and Muniz — were members of the Trinitarios gang.
The trial also included shocking revelations, including when it was learned that the self-proclaimed gang member who testified against the other five alleged Trinitarios members on trial could get off because of his testimony.
The defense also tried to discredit Guzman-Feliz alleging he was in a gang photo — a notion a detective who took the stand denied.
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.