Video by Junior Guzman shows the gruesome murder of a 15-year-old who was chased and assaulted by suspected members of the Trinitarios gang in the Bronx in June.
The video was captured on surveillance footage and mobile phones of bystanders.
In 2020, it was revealed that Jessica Krug, a white woman pretending to be black, had hailed the murder as a “revolutionary moment” because Junior had wanted to become a police officer and falsely claimed he was targeted because he was a snitch. .
Krug’s murder and comments have once again drawn attention to gang violence and its impact on communities.
What happened to Junior Guzman? Has his killer been charged?
A New York state appeals court has rejected the first-degree murder conviction against Jonaiki Martinez Estrella, a member of the Trinitarios gang who delivered the machete blow that killed 15-year-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz in 2018.
Martinez Estrella was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the CCTV murder but must now be re-sentenced on the lesser second-degree murder conviction, for which he will face up to 25 years to life behind bars, the appeals court said reigned.
While the “extremely gruesome” murder “clearly reflected” Martinez Estrella delivering the fatal blow to Guzman-Feliz’s neck, the judges found prosecutors fell short of the high bar for proving first-degree murder in Martinez’s case Estrella.
Specifically, they could not prove that he tortured the victim within the meaning of the statute in two respects: that he engaged in a “line of conduct” intended to “torture” Guzman-Feliz and that he “enjoyed” or took pleasure in the murder .
Martinez Estrella was one of several Trinitarios who dragged Guzman-Feliz out of a Bronx bodega and stabbed him outside on the sidewalk, believing the teen was part of a rival gang.
The murder shocked the city and drew national attention. Martinez Estrella’s attorney explained that first-degree murder charges are normally reserved for police killings and acts of terrorism.
To apply first-degree murder charges outside of those situations, prosecutors must prove the additional elements that the perpetrator followed a “line of conduct” with the intent to torture the victim — meaning they took pleasure in the act.
“There was simply no evidence that could satisfy the elements of first-degree murder on the theory of torture,” the lawyer said. “As such, the court rightly overturned the plaintiff’s conviction for that crime. It should be emphasized that it is extremely difficult to meet the elements of premeditated murder under the theory of torture,” he added.
Jessica Krug was under fire for approving Guzman’s murder
Jessica Krug, a former professor of African studies at George Washington University, came under fire for comments she made to a Columbia University panel in 2019, where she accused the murder of a 15-year-old boy, Lesandro “Junior” Guzman, seemed to endorse -Feliz, who was hacked to death by a Dominican street gang in the Bronx in 2018.
Krug, who admitted to pretending to be black for decades while also becoming a prominent opponent of systemic racism, fired Guzman-Feliz, who was a member of the NYPD youth program Explorers, as a “collaborator” who worked against his own community and target because “snitches get stitches.”
Speaking to the panel, Krug compared the attack to “necklacing,” the gruesome method of execution used to punish black police informers in apartheid-era South Africa, and seemed to suggest the use of force against those opposed to their communities work to endorse.
The revelation of Krug’s comments sparked outrage, with many critics describing her words as inciting violence and condoning murder.
Krug’s comments were also seen as a further indictment of her previous claims of being a black woman, who has been described by many as attempting to gain personal and professional advantage by appropriating a culture and history that is not her own .
Krug’s deception was revealed in a blog post, in which she admitted to living her life as a white Jewish woman from Kansas City, Missouri, but pretending to be black or Hispanic for decades.
In the post, titled “The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies,” Krug acknowledged that she had “shunned” her lived experience as a white Jewish child in a Kansas City suburb under various assumed identities within a Blackness who she had. no right to claim.
After the revelation of her cheating, Krug resigned from her position at George Washington University. Many of her former colleagues and students have spoken out against her, shocked and incredulous at the extent of her cheating.
Krug’s comments to the Columbia University panel have only added to the controversy surrounding her, with many now calling for her to be held accountable for her words and actions.