Justice for Junior: 12 suspects appear in court in teen's murder

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Rob Nelson reports on the court appearance of the 12 suspects involved in the killing of an innocent teenager in the Bronx.

The 12 alleged gang members suspected in the brutal killing of an innocent teenager in the Bronx were in court Wednesday, appearing before both a judge and the victim's family and loved ones.

The men face a variety of charges in the death of 15-year-old Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, affectionately known as Junior, who was dragged out of a Bronx bodega and stabbed and slashed with machetes nearly a month ago in what authorities believe was a case of mistaken identity.

The victim's mother yelled "asesino," Spanish for murderer, as the first two suspects left the courtroom.
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Candace McCowan has the latest on the 12 suspects appearing in court.


"This crime was nothing less than ferocious," Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said. "The defendants were out for violence."

Police believe they have now arrested everyone in involved in the murder, which left the community outraged and sparked the hashtag #JusticeForJunior.

"The notion that anyone or any group of people somehow thinks that committing such an act in New York City is OK is abhorrent at its core," NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said. "Criminal groups continue to threaten public safety and quality of life in some New York City neighborhoods. The NYPD will remain vigilant in the face of this threat."

The 12 suspects and the charges against them are as follows:
--Kevin Alvarez, 19: Second-degree murder, manslaughter, gang assault and assault
--Jose Muniz, 21, of Paterson: First- and second-degree murder, manslaughter, gang assault and assault with intent to cause serious injury with a weapon
--Jose Taverez, 21, of the Bronx: Second-degree murder, manslaughter, gang assault and assault with intent to cause serious injury with a weapon
--Manuel Rivera, 18, of the Bronx: Second-degree murder, manslaughter, gang assault and assault with intent to cause serious injury with a weapon, and criminal possession of a weapon
--Daniel Fernandez, 21, of the Bronx: Second-degree murder, manslaughter, gang assault and assault with intent to cause serious injury with a weapon
--Jonaiki Martinez-Estrella, 24, of Freeport: First- and second-degree murder, manslaughter, gang assault and assault with intent to cause serious injury with a weapon
--Antonio Santiago-Hernandez, 24, of the Bronx: First- and second-degree murder, manslaughter, gang assault and assault with intent to cause serious injury with a weapon
--Elvin Garcia, 23: First- and second-degree murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of weapon
--Diego Suero, 29: Murder, manslaughter and gang assault
--Gabriel Ramirez Concepcion, 26: Murder, manslaughter and gang assault
--Danilo Payamps Pacheco: Murder, manslaughter, gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon
--Luis A. Cabrera Santos, 25: Murder, manslaughter, gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon

The murder happened outside a bodega on East 183rd Street and Bathgate Avenue in the Tremont section just after 11:30 p.m. on June 20. Junior, who had hopes of becoming an NYPD detective, tried to run to St. Barnabas Hospital a block away but collapsed on the sidewalk.

Martinez-Estrella, who has a prior arrest for robbing and beating a 14-year-old with a golf club in 2016, was identified by police as the one who sliced the victim's neck. Authorities say the men are all members of the Trinitarios gang.

The tragedy is also spurring changes to keep young people safe. Several lawmakers say they're rolling out a Safe Haven initiative in response to Junior's murder that would require small businesses to be a safe haven for teens who are seeking help.

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murderteen killedjustice for juniorNew York CityBronxTremont
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