A suspect accused of the brutal machete killing of 15-year-old Lesandro (Junior) Guzman-Feliz claims he wasn’t present and another denies he delivered the fatal blows that slaughtered the teen in a case of mistaken identity, reports the NY Daily News.
Jonaiki Martinez-Estrella, 24, said he didn’t have anything to do with the murder of Guzman-Feliz and argued that he doesn’t have the neck tattoo like the man caught on video, even though police identified Estrella as one of the killers.
“Look at my neck,” he told the Daily News, in Spanish, at the Manhattan Detention Center. “I have nothing.”
Martinez-Estrella contends that he was in Pennsylvania when a group of known Trinitarios gang members dragged Guzman-Feliz, aka “Junior” from a Bronx bodega and butchered him.
Martinez-Estrella said he was arrested in Paterson, N.J. and “didn’t even know what Junior looked like until I saw his face on television,” Martinez-Estrella told The News.
Jose Tavarez, 21, another suspect, pleaded his case from jail saying that he was too busy working and going to school.
“I’m a guy who works and studies,” Tavarez said. “I don’t have the heart to kill anyone.”
Guzman-Feliz died after the Trinitarios gang members allegedly stabbed him to death outside the store. In the graphic video, Guzman-Feliz can be seen entering the bodega looking for help before leaping over the counter where an employee stood and ushered him out. Gang members grabbed and then dragged Guzman-Feliz out the door where he was viciously stabbed.
The gang members—eight men so far—have all been charged with murder, manslaughter, gang assault and assault, authorities said.
Martinez-Estrella however believes he will be acquitted and he plans to move south with his pregnant girlfriend if he is released.
“I am leaving NYC,” he said. “I’m telling Jacqueline that I can’t return to the Bronx after this, and I’m going to North Carolina. I have a cousin there.”
Claims of innocence
Tavarez, however was at the bodega and claims that he thought other members of the gang were just going to beat up Junior and he said he ran away when they pulled out a machete.
“I ran into the bodega because I was afraid,” Tavarez said in Spanish. “I saw the guys with the machete and I got scared.”
He claims he was too “scared” to help save Junior.
He claims that he along with other suspects Jose Muniz, Daniel Fernandez and Antonio Hernandez-Santiago “are being tried for something we didn’t do.”
He also belittled Junior by saying he “not the innocent child everyone is claiming he is.”
On Thursday, suspect Kevin Alvarez, 19, admitted to being the one on video who jerked Junior out of the store. But said he thought he did it so the gang members could beat him up.
Alvarez was indicted Friday in Bronx Supreme Court for second-degree murder, the Daily News reports.