THE BRONX — He'd just chased the terrified "Junior" into the Bronx bodega the night of June 20, but when he finally got a good look at the 15-year-old boy, Michael "Sosa" Reyes had a change of heart.
In highly anticipated testimony on Friday, the admitted Trinitarios gang member who helped police track down several "Junior" murder suspects revealed he decided to leave the bodega "at the moment that I saw Junior’s face,” he said in Spanish, using an interpreter.
Reyes testified Friday that Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz was hiding behind the counter.
“I saw him scared, and he reminded me of a person I had seen previously. When I saw his face, my attitude changed,” he testified.
Junior’s sister Genesis was in court listening to the testimony.
She had previously posted on social media that she and Junior had once met Reyes at a party.
Junior’s mother and father were also in court for the key testimony.
It was the mom’s first return to the courtroom in more than a week.
Last week, Leandra Feliz had started screaming and shaking in court during cross-examination of the other star witness, Kevin Alvarez.
Reyes, now 21, jump-started the murder investigation when he turned up at a Bronx police precinct in the early hours of June 23, 2018.
He had fled to the Dominican Republic, but flew back at the behest of a relative.
He helped detectives identify some of the murder suspects seen on surveillance footage by using Facebook.
In his initial testimony Friday, Reyes said he was a member of the “Bad Boys” set of the Trinitarios since he was 16.
He said his set was feuding with another division called “Sunset.”
Reyes said he met up with members of a third set, Los Sures, on the night of June 20.
He testified he saw one member of Los Sures there wearing a red hat, red polo shirt, and white sneakers.
This matches the description of one Junior stabber.
He also identified other alleged Los Sures members by their real names or nicknames: “Manuel,” “Welfinito,” “Diego,” “Colita,” “Flaco Patria,” and “Diente.”
He said “Diente” was a reference to “dentist” — “the way he has his teeth,” before identifying defendant Jose Muniz in court.
He said the orders given by two “set” leaders were “Go after Sunset. You already know what you have to do.”
When asked to explain, Reyes said, “If you have a gun, you shoot. If you have a knife, you stab. If you have a machete, you use the machete.”
Reyes testified he used his white 2011 Acura to join the convoy looking for rivals.
The cars came upon Junior looking at his cellphone.
“He raises his hand. He answered the seven,” Reyes testified, not clarifying what “the seven” meant. “All I hear was ‘Oh, s**t, and then he started running.”
Reyes said a guy in his car tried to grab Junior when the teen was running near St. Barnabas Hospital, and the gray Acura with Kevin Alvarez at the wheel tried to block Junior.
“The kid was running too fast,” Reyes told the jury.
Reyes said he and a suspect wearing a green do rag lied to deli workers that Junior “had done something to my grandmother.”
When Reyes decided to leave the bodega, he was still outside when Kevin Alvarez and another suspect dragged Junior out to the sidewalk.
“He’s fighting for his life,” Reyes testified.
He said of “Diente": “I see Diente pulling at him and grabbing him and with his other hand, attacking him with the machete."
He said he saw “Manuel” getting close to him with a knife but didn’t see the knife go into Junior’s body.
He said the same about “Welfinito” and the suspect with the red hat.
Regarding a fifth stabber who had a covering on his face, “I saw him running towards Junior and I saw him attacking him with a knife.”
THE BRONX — In testimony that drew gasps from courtroom spectators, cooperating witness Michael “Sosa” Reyes testified that one of Junior’s stabbers made a shocking comment in the getaway car Sosa was driving.
Speaking about “the one with the red hat,” Reyes testified the man said about the young victim he had just stabbed: “He’s not gonna eat for a good, long time, because I hit him in the neck.”
The guy with the red hat did more than just hit 15-year-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman Feliz in the neck, according to prosecutors.
The blade from his 4 ½ inch knife allegedly sliced the teenager’s jugular vein.
Reyes identified the stabber in court, when the prosecutor showed him still images of murder defendant Jonaiki Martinez Estrella.
Earlier, Reyes had identified another defendant charged with murder in the first degree, Jose Muniz.
He knew Muniz by a nickname, “Diente,” a reference to “the way he has his teeth.”
Reyes testified he was driving a 2011 white Acura that’s been seen in many surveillance videos of the murder scene on East 183rd Street and Bathgate Avenue in the Bronx.
He said after he decided to leave the bodega, because he recognized Junior as someone he’d met, he went outside and tried to warn other gang members about surveillance.
“Take the guys out of there,” Sosa said he yelled, “They have cameras.”
The Cruz & Chiky bodega had at least a dozen surveillance cameras in the store’s interior and outside, as well.
The warning was given too late.
Seconds after Reyes left the bodega, he said Kevin Alvarez and “the guy with the green do rag” were dragging the petrified Junior out to the sidewalk.
Reyes testified he saw the attack.
Even though he was a member of the “Bad Boys” set of the Trinitarios gang, he said some members of the Los Sures set that participated in the stabbing got into his back seat, after Junior had been stabbed by the mob on the bodega sidewalk.
He testified the guy with the do rag got in the seat behind him, “Diente” was in the middle, rear seat, and the guy “with the red t-shirt and the red hat” was in the other rear seat.
Reyes said Muniz, carrying a machete, had a warning for him.
“He told me not to speed up quickly, because if the police stop us, he will be responsible for the machete—and where could he hide it.”
“He told us if the police stop us, no one could talk, because we know what will happen to us, if we talk.”
Reyes later testified that a black Acura involved in the Junior chase belonged to suspect Gabriel Ramirez Concepcion, who was later arrested.
He also said that defendant Manuel Rivera apologized to the stabber who was wearing a dark cloth over his face, a man prosecutors identified as Elvin Garcia.
Manuel, 18 years old at the time, asked for forgiveness after Garcia allegedly said, “This c—ksucker cut my hand.”
Prosecutors have said Garcia got a wound in one hand when he was cut by a knife during the stabbing frenzy.
Reyes remembered that Los Sures leader, Diego Suero, advised Garcia to “go to a hospital far from the Bronx.”
Garcia allegedly ended up at Columbia-University Medical Center in Manhattan.
The prosecutor ended up asking Michael Reyes about the plea agreement she made with him, and it was revealed Reyes pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree last year.
But the charges “will be dismissed,” prosecutor Morgan Dolan pointed out, if Reyes testifies truthfully.
naw, all da tribos from around my hood from da jump thought what happened to junior was disgusting. sosa did everyone a favor.That kid that testify better disappear to some deep Midwest town away from any Hispanics...because there will be a bounty on his head the second he steps out...or hopefully he has some type of witness protection deal set up....the way he sang...lord, dudes are gonna want his head.
Happens in pretty much every gang, especially the latino gangs. Eventually there's always internal beef among the different sets that ends up ****ing the whole **** up. Only makes the recourse in the streets worsenaw, all da tribos from around my hood from da jump thought what happened to junior was disgusting. sosa did everyone a favor.
what im dismayed about now is reading that these idiot got sets of trinis going after each other, dumbest things I've ever seen so far.