The last five suspects linked to the fatal stabbing of a 15-year-old who was mistaken by his attackers as being a rival gang member were sentenced Friday, marking an end to the 2018 killing captured on video that sparked outrage in New York City and beyond.
In total, 13 people were prosecuted for the death of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, also known as “Junior.”
Guzman-Feliz was stabbed to death at a bodega in the Bronx on June 20, 2018. Five other defendants attacked the victim with knives and a machete, prosecutors said, citing trial evidence.
All six pleaded guilty to manslaughter and got prison terms that vary between 12 and 18 years. The five were convicted of murder and got at least 23-year sentences; one was sentenced to life behind bars.
In an apparent case of “mistaken identity,” members of the Trinitarios street gang have said that their intended target was not the teen they allegedly attacked.
The five defendants sentenced Friday and a sixth sentenced earlier in the week dragged the teen, an aspiring police officer who was a member of the New York Police Department Explorers program, outside the store where he tried to hide.
They stabbed him multiple times as the attack was being filmed.
Two gang leaders set the assault in motion by telling their underlings to go after members of another subgroup of their gang, prosecutors said. The two leaders were convicted of murder and sentenced last year to 25 years to life behind bars.
Guzman-Feliz wasn’t affiliated with any gang, authorities said. Nonetheless, gang members zeroed in on him.
The killing shocked the Bronx community where it happened and the world and left it “horrified at such (a) complete disregard for human life,” Bronx County District Attorney Darcel Clark said.