Justice for Junior- Bronx Community Tries to Heal
By David Greene
Eight days after a jury convicted five men of his brutal murder, the Bathgate Community came together for the Second Annual ‘Stop the Violence’ block-party– that marked the 1-year anniversary of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz’ horrendous murder.
The brutality of the surveillance video of Guzman-Feliz, 15, a member of the NYPD’s Explorers Program, being dragged out of a bodega and ultimately hacked to death– shocked a battle-weary nation and drew outrage from the public and elected officials.
On June 14, After a five-week trial, the five ‘Trinitarios’ gang members who were eventually tried for the crime, were convicted on Friday, June 14.
The men: Jonaiki Estrella, Elvin Garcia, Jose Muniz, Manuel Rivera and Antonio Santiago were all found guilty of first-degree murder, conspiracy and gang assault for the June 20, 2018 killing.
On June 22, hundreds of Bathgate residents joined friends and family members for a day of fun in the sun, without violence. The event was held just a block away from where Junior was attacked by the machete-wielding mob.
There were games and rides for the children, fancy cars, music and plenty of food. The Stop the Violence event also honored Lisa Marie Velasquez, 25, a local resident who was also killed in 2018.
Junior’s mother Leandra Feliz told News 12, “We need to take care of our future kids. We don’t want any violence in the Bronx.”
And long after the defendants are sentenced, long after their appeals are exhausted, and their growing old in jail– Bathgate will have forgotten their names, and hopefully the name of their murderous gang. But organizers say that the event and Junior’s name will live on.
The men will be sentenced on July 16, and all face life in prison, without parole.