Trial for Slain NYC Teen in Machete Attack Begins
Jury selection proceedings started Monday in the trial of five suspected gang leaders believed to have taken part in the savage slaying of a 15-year-old boy inside a Bronx bodega last summer.
The five are facing murder charges in the horrific machete attack death of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz, who was killed in June 2018 by a group of alleged gang members in an apparent case of mistaken identity.
Investigators say the group mistook Guzman-Feliz, who was not affiliated with any gang, for a member of the rival fraction of the Trinitarios gang. In total, fourteen suspects have been arrested in connection to the killing.
Jury selection should take weeks, an attorney tells NBC 4 New York, since they need to find 12 jurors and their alternates.
Only the potential jurors will be allowed in the courtroom, while everyone else has to watch the proceedings from a monitor on the sixth floor, NBC 4 New York learned.
The horrifying attack on Guzman-Feliz was captured on video; he was dragged outside the bodega and set upon by a gang of men who hacked at him as he struggled to defend himself. The boy was slashed in the neck and died after running to a hospital three blocks away.
Guzman-Feliz had been part of the NYPD’s Explorers program, a group for youths interested in a law enforcement career. The New York City Police Foundation announced it planned to set up a scholarship in his name.
Since the violent attack, the community’s outpouring of love and support has been seen in a mural. Guzman-Feliz’s memory has also been honored through the renaming of a street and a summer camp at a state park, as well as prompting the “Safe Haven Bodega” program in the city.