Jurors in the murder trial of Bronx teen Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz on Tuesday heard evidence about when and where the suspects were arrested following the June 2018 slaying and the various means by which they were identified.
Suspect Manuel Rivera, who was just 18 years old when the murder took place, bleached his hair the day after the attack, Det. Francis Orlando of the Bronx Homicide squad testified.
Rivera, who was arrested four days after the 15-year-old Junior was dragged from a bodega and hacked to death by a gang of men wielding knives and machetes, was sporting “yellow hair” when he was busted in Paterson, N.J., along with several other suspects, the detective said.
Elvin Garcia, also facing first-degree murder charges, had stitches on his left hand the day he was arrested on June 26, 2018. Investigators believe he was injured while attacking Junior.
Defense attorneys objected to several items entered into evidence, each depicting mugshots of the suspects alongside grainy screen-grabs taken from CCTV footage of Junior’s killing.
Bronx Justice Robert Neary told jurors to carefully evaluate the surrounding screenshots and decide themselves whether they match with photos of the suspects taken by police.
Also on trial facing first-degree murder charges for Junior’s death are Antonio Rodriguez, Hernandez Santiago, Elvin Garcia, Jonaiki Martinez Estrella, José Muñiz and Manuel Rivera. All are alleged members of the Trinitarios street gang. Prosecutors say the men set upon the youth in a tragic case of mistaken identity.
The defendants also face manslaughter, conspiracy, gang assault and weapons charges. If convicted, they face life in prison.
Eight other suspects face second-degree murder charges in connection to the killing and are expected to stand trial later this year. Kevin Alvarez pleaded guilty to charges last month and is expected to testify at trial.
Junior’s grieving parents were in the courtroom Tuesday, the fourth day of their son’s murder trial, upset at the slow pace of the proceedings.
“It hurts. I think about it too much, about my son,” the boy’s father, Lisandro Guzman, told reporters.
“I want justice for Junior, but it’s really hard. I want to finish with this.”