NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It was an emotional day for family and friends seeking justice for 15-year-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz.
Videos of his murder replayed in a Bronx courtroom during the trial of five men of the 14 men accused of killing him.
Several witnesses who obtained video of the Junior’s murder took the stand Tuesday, including three police officers. Police surviellance footage that had never been seen before was just too heartbreaking at times for Junior’s family, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported.
Leandra Feliz, Junior’s mother, appeared strong going into court. But after watching footage showing Junior’s murder she was visibly distraught, and consoled by court personnel.
“The poor thing is hysterical crying. Looks like she is going to pass out, and I just hope to God she’ll be OK,” said family friend Jennifer Weisel.
The trial comes almost one year after Junior was chased down by a group of alleged members of the Trinitarios gang. Junior tried to hide in a Belmont bodega but was dragged out and attacked with knives and a machete. His attackers apparently thought he was a member of the rival Sunset gang.
Defense attorneys for five of the 14 suspects facing murder and manslaughter charges argues in opening statements that Junior only died from a knife put in his neck, and that the defendants didn’t kill – they only made it look like they hurt him to avoid punishment for the gang’s leader.
“It’s too much. It’s too much,” said family friend Jennifer DeJesus. “It’s anger and sadness.”
The first witness told prosecutors and defense attorneys she watched from her apartment as Junior was stabbed several times, including by defendant Jose Muniz, accused of using a machete. The same witness says, after the attack, she ran out to help Junior.
“Junior ran one block to the hospital and collapsed when police came,” said supporter Jermaine Himmelstein.
The witnesses said in his last words Junior asked for water.
“I have never cried so hard in my life,” Weisel said.
Junior’s brother and father did not appear in the courtroom Tuesday. Supporters say they lashed out at the defendants in court Monday because they laughed at Junior’s family.
“I believe they should all get 25 to life without the possibility coming to light,” said family friend Erica Tirado. “People like them don’t belong in our society.”