THE BRONX — One year after a teen was brutally slain outside a bodega in the Bronx, five men have been convicted of his murder — and eight others await trial for their alleged involvement in the attack.
On Monday, prosecutor Morgan Dolan put the possibility of plea deals on the table for the remaining eight men.
Alleged Trinitarios gang members Frederick Then, Ronald Urena, Jose Tavarez, Danel Fernandez, Gabriel Ramirez Concepcion, Diego Suero, Danilo Payamps Pacheco and Luis Caberasantos are all charged with second-degree murder for being part of the chase that led to the death of 15-year-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz last June.
“We are willing to consider potential pleas for manslaughter in the first degree," Dolan said.
This means Dolan is willing to negotiate pleas to a lower charge with the eight remaining defendants in the second-degree murder case,” with an eye toward trying to resolve these cases.”
A plea bargain would still assign blame for intent to cause serious physical injury that resulted in Junior's death.
The range of possible sentences could fall anywhere between 12 and 25 years. Dolan told Judge Robert Neary: “Obviously, we’d have to work out the number.”
This comes just days after Dolan and her team won convictions of first-degree murder against the five men who fatally stabbed Junior with knives and a machete.
Jonaiki Martinez Estrella, Manuel Rivera, Elvin Garcia, Jose Muniz and Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago, were convicted on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, second-degree gang assault and second-degree conspiracy.
They will face Judge Robert Neary for sentencing on July 16.
The remaining eight defendants who await trial are accused of being part of the chase that ended with Junior’s murder — or part of the planning conspiracy to hunt for rivals.
Neary, who said he’s looking to avoid multiple trials, said pre-trial hearings are expected to start by Sept. 23.
Here's what we know about the next eight suspects in the Junior case:
- Testimony in the first trial identified Then as “Colita”—the alleged No. 2 leader of the Los Sures set in the Trinitarios gang. Cooperating witness Kevin Alvarez said Then told him to go in the bodega last June 20 “and get the guy out.” Dolan previously said: “The defendant was known to have allegedly pursued Junior throughout the streets of the Bronx. There is video surveillance capturing his pursuit on foot that ultimately led to Junior going into a bodega, where he was pulled out and killed by members of the Trinitarios gang."
- Fernandez was identified on the infamous surveillance footage as the suspect wearing a green do-rag. He allegedly took part in the foot pursuit of Junior. Alvarez testified Fernandez helped him aggressively drag Junior across the bodega floor and out the front door to a waiting mob on the sidewalk.
- Urena was allegedly among the group of men who spotted 15-year-old Junior on June 20, 2018 and chased the teen for blocks. Investigators don't believe Urena was present when Junior was fatally attacked.
- Tavarez has a 157 tattoo on his neck, which denotes someone in good standing with the Trinitarios gang. He was allegedly seen on surveillance peering over the counter after Junior ran into the bodega, leaving to tell others the terrified teen was hiding inside.
Gabriel Ramirez Concepcion:
- Ramirez Concepcion allegedly owned a black Acura involved in the Junior chase.
- Suero is the accused leader of the Trinitarios' "Sures" set. He allegedly summoned other gang members to his apartment building on Boston Road before the Junior attack, telling those assembled they needed to retaliate against a rival faction known as “Sunset” for shooting another Trinitario in the eye. A cellphone photo was shown with more than a dozen alleged members of Sunset featured in the picture.
Danilo Payamps Pacheco:
- This suspect, known as “man bun,” was allegedly seen exiting the white 2011 Acura driven by cooperating witness Michael “Sosa” Reyes. Pacheco surrendered to police accompanied by a lawyer. Attorney Donald Vogelman said at the time Payamps Pacheco "was merely present at the crime other people committed."
Luis A. Cabrarasantos:
- Cabrarasantos was famously arrested on Interstate 84 in Southbury, Conn. weeks after the murder. His gray Honda was seized by state troopers in a dramatic car stop captured on camera. The suspect yelled his baby was still in the car. Cabrarasantos’ girlfriend was thrown to the grass. The suspect allegedly drove this Honda in a four-vehicle pursuit of Junior. Cabrarasantos also allegedly took part in the getaway of the suspects who used knives and a machete to kill the 15-year-old.