Cousins! The tragic 2018 murder of 15 year old Lesandro ‘Junior” Guzman-Feliz shocked the world as his gruesome and inhumane death was captured on surveillance footage of him being fatally attacked by a series of men leading up to the teen’s final moments!
Despite a series of men belonging to the Trinitarios gang being sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, a recent update has left Junior’s family reliving the terrifying nightmare ultimately feeling as if the justice system failed them.
According to Pix 11 News, the Appellate Division of New York State Supreme Court has announced that they will be canceling out the previous first degree murder conviction of Jonaki Martinez-Estrella. The Bronx male was seen on surveillance footage inflicting the lethal slash to Junior’s neck that caused him to bleed to death.
Back on October 11th of 2019, Judge Robert Neary had initially sentenced Martinez-Estrella to life without parole along with a first-degree murder conviction. Reports read that a first degree murder conviction is directly connected to an element of “torture.” However appellate judges argued that the case lacked the element of torture.
“…the defendant acted in an especially cruel and wanton manner pursuant to a course of conduct intended to inflict and inflicting torture upon the victim prior to the victim’s death.”
Within the newly issued update the court division ruled that Martinez-Estrella must be re-sentenced under second degree murder charges with the first degree murder conviction being tossed out.
“The evidence established that the defendant committed an extremely heinous second-degree murder. However, we vacate the conviction of first-degree murder under Penal Law 125.27 because the evidence did not establish the very specific elements of that crime.”
Appellate Judges stated that in regard to the fatal stab to Junior’s neck, “…that blow was a single act rather than a course of conduct. Thus, we find that defendant and his accomplices did not engage in a ‘course of conduct’ involving the intentional infliction of extreme physical pain.”
Following the newly issued verdict Martinez-Estrella’s attorney Steven Feinman stated, “The Appellate Division did what the law required. There was simply no evidence that could have possibly satisfied the elements of first-degree murder on the theory of torture.”
Junior was sadly chased by a total of four cars occupied by members of the Trinitarios gang. It has been stated that he had ultimately been mistaken for someone else belonging to a rival gang.
Despite the teen’s attempt to hide in a local bodega not too far from his Bronx located home he was dragged and fatally stabbed on the sidewalk of Bathgate Avenue. While trying to make his way to a nearby hospital he collapsed outside of St. Barnabas Hospital he where tragically bled to death.
Reports read that Junior’s mother Leandra Feliz was shocked and saddened by the series of updates. “I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t breathe. This is a nightmare for me. He was over. He killed my son. He killed an innocent kid,” she said.
Leandra says she wants the men who killed her son to spend the remainder of their lives in jail. “They are gang members. They are criminals. So how come the criminals have more defense than the victims? I lost a child.”
“The defendant still stands convicted of second-degree intentional murder, for which he was sentenced to 25 years to life, as well as conspiracy and gang assault … “ said a spokesperson for Bronx District Attorney’s Office.
“We are carefully reviewing the Appellate Division’s decision and considering all of our options.”
Martinez-Estrella is currently pending a new sentencing. Cousins, please stick with us for updates.