Justice for Junior suspects appear in court, plead ‘not guilty’

Junior’s parents Leandra Feliz and Lisandro Guzman outside of the Bronx Hall of Justice on Thursday, October 25.
Schneps Community News Group/ Alex Mitchell

Almost half a year after the horrendous and tragic murder of 15-year-old Lesandro ‘Junior’ Guzman-Feliz, the Justice for Junior movement has reached it’s next, more powerful stage in the Bronx Hall of Justice on Thursday, October 25.

A packed basement courtroom held hearings for 13 of the 14 accused gang members behind the gruesome killing, all of which have plead “not guilty.”

People came from all over to observe the hearings, going to the extent of waiting on line outside of the courtroom for people to leave in between the multiple hearings to secure a seat inside.

While the court’s proceedings did not extend past the prosecution’s request for DNA sampled from all of the accused, it’s what happened outside of the courthouse that was most captivating.

Once again, Bronxites and New Yorkers alike were rallying for Junior’s cause before leading a march from the Hall of Justice to the infamous Bodega on East 183rd Street and Bathgate Avenue where Junior had been slashed to death.

Junior’s parents, Leandra Feliz and Lisandro Guzman were there to address the crowd of mostly moms and their children before the 3-mile long march.

“I just need justice for my son,” Leandra told supporters. “They left me dead and my heart broken,” she emotionally said in Spanish.

Just about every day now, she goes to her son’s final resting place in St. Raymond’s Cemetery to reflect on Junior’s life and the years of memories that the mother and son had shared.

“I still can’t believe what happened, it still doesn’t feel real to me,” said Leandra. “There’s been so much to process with this that I simply haven’t yet,” the grieving mother added.

Leandra went on to share the final memories that her and Junior had shared, which came just moments before the gruesome attack.

“He called me right before, he said he was running downstairs to give a friend five dollars. But he was taking too long so I called him back and the last thing he said to me was “I’m coming back now mommy,” that was the last thing that my son ever said to me,” Leandra said.

While Leandra is overwhelmingly grateful for the support she and her family has received, the walk to the cursed bodega only holds pain for the grieving mother.

“This is a corner of death, nobody wants the store here. I don’t want the store here. I’ve lived in this area for 17 years and this is a troubled intersection, we need a safe haven,” Leandra said in August at one of many memorials for Junior.

The suspects: Jose Tavarez, Manuel Rivera, Danel Fernandez, Danilo Payamps Pacheco, Diego Suero, Gabriel Ramirez Concepcion, Ronald Urena, Frederick Then, Jonaiki Martinez Estrella, Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago, Jose Muniz, Elvin Garcia and Luis Cabrera Santos are scheduled to be back in court on Friday, December 21 for another hearing.

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