Surveillance footage showed Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz being attacked with knives and a machete by Trinitario gang members in June 2018 — a killing that shocked New York and the nation. Guzman-Feliz was followed into a Bronx bodega and dragged onto the street before he was fatally stabbed. Police said the killers had mistaken "Junior" for a member of a rival gang.
The sentences were handed down after the boy's mother told the judge her son's killers had taken the life of an innocent.
“That night, there were two deaths, Junior and I, who was left dead inside, Leandra Feliz said, according to WABC-TV.
Guzman-Feliz, who lived about a block from where he was slain, wanted to become a police officer. He was a member of the NYPD Explorers program, which introduces young men and women to careers in law enforcement and criminal justice.
“Please make sure my son's dreams come true,” said Leandra Feliz, according to the station. "These killers should never be able to step out of a jail cell, so they know the moment they killed my son, they took their own lives as well."
The toughest sentence was meted out to 25-year-old Jonaiki Martinez Estrella, who prosecutors said struck the blow that ultimately killed Junior. Estrella received life in prison with no chance of parole, the New York Post reported.
Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago, 25, Jose Muniz, 23, and Elvin Garcia, 25, were each sentenced to life behind bars with an opportunity for parole after 25 years, the Post reported.
Manuel Rivera, 19, was sentenced to 23 years to life.
Eight other Trinitarios arrested in the case are awaiting trials, the paper reported.
“Junior came to symbolize all of the young people who have lost their lives to brutal gang violence,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in June, and the verdict “fortifies the Bronx community’s stand against violence.”
Eight other defendants are scheduled to go on trial on Oct. 22.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.