TREMONT, The Bronx (WABC) -- Two alleged gang leaders convicted of second-degree murder in the killing of Bronx teenager Lesandro 'Junior' Guzman-Feliz were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison Friday.
Diego Suero 33, and 24-year-old Frederick Then were identified as the heads of the Los Sures set of the Trinitarios gang who ordered their underlings to kill a member of the Sunset gang.
Guzman Feliz was not in a gang, but those who carried out the murder believed he was.
The judge said both were no less responsible for Junior's murder than the ones who physically carried it out.
"Those who choose gang life need to know that this is where it ends: State prison for the rest of your life," Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said. "It will never end. Even after every last defendant has been tried and convicted, we will still stand by this family."
Neither Suero, the alleged leader, nor Then, said to be the second in command, spoke prior to sentencing. There were no statements on Suero's behalf, but Then's attorney asked for the minimum sentence.
The only statement was from Junior's mom, Leandra Feliz, who asked for life in prison to send a message to all violent gang members
She read her statement in Spanish in court twice, once for each of the defendants. She said Junior would have graduated from high school by now and perhaps started the career in law enforcement he dreamed of, and that she wanted them to understand that in the moment they decided to kill an innocent 15-year- old, they threw their own lives away.
"He's never going to come back from his grave," she said after court. "They're never supposed to come back to the street. We got justice for Junior."
Junior was dragged out of a bodega in Tremont and stabbed to death in 2018, sparking nationwide outrage.
Five other young men have also been convicted in the killing.
"The shocking images of Junior's last moments saddened and outraged all who saw them," Clark said. "Today, the leaders whose order meant death for a 15-year-old boy were sentenced to 25 years to life years in prison. Junior's family has suffered immensely and will forever miss him. We hope today's sentence brings some peace to them and the Bronx community."
Junior's murder launched an international social media movement under the hashtag #JusticeForJunior that sought justice for the teen.
Leandra Feliz became the face of grief for Junior, and she has been advocating for a bill to have panic buttons installed in all bodegas.
"My son was an innocent kid. He was only 15 years old," she said after court. "They got what they deserved."
There are six more alleged gang members who are charged in Junior's death. They will appear in court next over the next couple of weeks.
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