What to Know
- Self-described gang member testified Monday in the case of a teen who was dragged out of bodega and murdered in a machete attack last summer
- Kevin Alvarez, who plead guilty weeks ago, took the stand and described what took place the night Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz was killed
- Five suspected gang leaders are on trial for the murder of 15-year-old Guzman-Feliz who was killed in a Bronx bodega
"Suprised" and "scared."
That's how the prosecution's star witness described Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz minutes before he died in a savage machete attack.
A self-described gang member took the stand Monday, at one point wiping away tears from his face, and described what happened last summer on the night the 15-year-old was dragged out of a Bronx bodega and slain in a machete attack by a group of alleged Trinitarios gang members.
Kevin Alvarez, who pleaded guilty a few weeks ago, took the stand to testify on behalf of the prosecution.
Alvarez, of the Bronx, was charged in June 2018 with second-degree murder, manslaughter, gang assault and assault.
Five out of more than a dozen suspected gang leaders are facing trial for the murder of Guzman-Feliz, who was killed in the savage machete-and-knife attack.
His voice cracking, Alvarez testified Monday about being a member of the gang. At one point, he wiped tears from his face.
According to Alvarez, he had only been in the gang for about four months at the time of Guzman-Feliz's death. Prior to his involvement in the gang, Alvarez was in the Army and attended college for one semester.
Alvarez said he knowingly joined the gang because he thought the members were cool.
The night of Guzman-Feliz's death, Alvarez said that he went inside the bodega to try to get the teen to come out. He repeatedly described how Guzman-Feliz kept saying he was not part of the Sunset division of the Trinitarios gang and tried to get the group to leave him alone.
"He looked surprised and scared and started running," Alvarez said.
Alvarez testified he was driving his mom's car that night as a total of four cars of people were chasing Guzman-Feliz because they were "hunting" that night.
Alvarez said he used his car to try to block and keep Guzman-Feliz from going to nearby St. Barnabas Hospital after being stabbed and attacked with knives and a machete.
Guzman-Feliz collapsed and died outside the hospital after running three blocks in an attempt to get help.
Alvarez went on to testify how he punched and kicked Gizman-Feliz when he was hiding in the bodega, crying as he described what happened.
A surveillence video played showing Alvarez hitting the teen and dragging him out of the bodega. Alvarez said Guzman-Feliz was saying "stop" while trying to grab onto racks, a refrigerator and the door while being dragged out.
According to Alvarez, he let Guzman-Feliz go when he got to the door because he saw the machete and got scared.
"At that point I got scared about what was going to happen," he said, adding that he ran.
Alvarez then used his hands to show the jury how he said the defendants swung the weapons. Tears streaming down his face as he described how Guzman-Feliz fought back.
Also on Monday, another of the alleged gang members on trial, Jose Muniz, had an outburst in court. Muniz raised his voice and tried to stand up, saying he was upset he could not get copies of the discovery the prosecution has.
He was booted from the courtroom while the other four defendants remained.
The jury was not in the room when the outburst took place.
Last week, a detective took the stand and answered a barrage of questions from the defense about Guzman-Feliz’s character.
The detective testified that the young teen met with a friend earlier the night he was killed to give him money.
One defense attorney tried to discredit Guzman-Feliz by alleging he was in a gang photo — a notion a detective who took the stand denied.
Prosecutors said the men attacked the Guzman-Feliz with knives and a machete and left him to die on the sidewalk. Investigators think that the men thought the teen was a member of a rival gang in a case of mistaken identity.
A new surveillance video presented in court Friday showed different angles inside and around the bodega where Guzman-Feliz was killed.
Jurors watched video showing 13 different angles and six different locations of what happened before, during and after the attack.
Guzman-Feliz’s mother attended the trial on Friday and could not bring herself to watch the 22-minute video, crying as it played for the jury. Others in the room also shed tears while the video played, including members of the jury.
Prosecutors slowed down and highlighted different parts of the video to show what different defendants did during the ambush.
This, however, was not the first time during the trial that graphic images and video were shown.
On the second day of trial, startling never-before-seen footage of the violent attack was presented by prosecutors.
The graphic footage prompted Guzman-Feliz’s mother and several supporters to break down in tears. A gasp was even heard in the courtroom.
Guzman-Feliz’s vicious killing shocked not only the city but the nation for its caught-on-camera brutality that showed the teenager being 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.
The much-anticipated trial kicked off May 6 with opening statements during which prosecutors described the teen's killing as a calculated and planned murder by the five suspects.
The trial kicked off to an emotional start when the first witness took the stand testifying how she tried to keep Guzman-Feliz alive by talking to him, adding that her friend took off their shirt in an effort to help stop the bleeding.
Defense attorneys subsequently cross-examined the witness in an effort to test her memory.
The witness said she watched the attack from an apartment window and ran downstairs to try to help. She described, in heartbreaking detail, how Guzman-Feliz looked up at her after the attack and motioned her to call 911.
He only said one word — "water," she testified.