NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Five people were found guilty in the mistaken identity murder of the teenager known as Junior.
A jury found all five of them guilty on all counts in the “Justice for Junior” trial, including first degree murder and gang assault.READ MORE: COVID Vaccine: New York State Nearing 70% Of Adults With At Least One Dose
Friday marked the end of a grueling year-long legal process.
The five Trinitarios gang members were found guilty of brutally stabbing Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz outside a Bronx bodega on June 20.
Prosecutors say Junior “fought like hell” to escape his killers, who though he was part of the rival Sunset gang.
He ran to St. Barnabas Hospital but collapsed and died before getting help.
During deliberations, jurors asked to rewatch graphic surveillance video showing the moment of the attack as Junior was repeatedly stabbed to death, and to rehear testimony alleging the murder was planned to target a member of a rival gang.
Junior’s parents watched the verdict come in from a room upstairs in the courthouse, after graphic testimony and video sparking several emotional outbursts from Junior’s mother Leandra.READ MORE: Report: Shake Shack Manager Falsely Accused Of Trying To Poison NYPD Officers Files Lawsuit
Friday, she said she finds a sliver of comfort.
Web Extra: Bronx DA, Junior’s Mother Speak After 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 said. “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.”
“The verdicts bring justice to Junior Guzman-Feliz. We hope the verdicts bring closure to the family after so much pain,” said Bronx DA Darcel Clark. “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.”
After the jury read the verdict, Manuel Rivera, one of the defendants, yelled out in court “until death.”
Murder 1 comes with a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Sentencing is set for July 16.MORE NEWS: Actress Lisa Banes Dies After Being Struck By Scooter On Upper West Side
Nine other suspects are also accused of taking part in the assault. Those nine will be tried at a later date.