They’re accused of the vicious machete killing of Bronx teen Lesandro (Junior) Guzman-Feliz, but on Friday two of his suspected killers said they didn’t do it.
Jonaiki Martinez-Estrella, the 24-year-old who cops say delivered the fatal blow to the neck of the 15-year-old best known as Junior, said his defense is right there on his skin: The attacker caught on video has a neck tattoo, while he does not. And, he adds, he was in Pennsylvania at the time of the murder.
“Look at my neck,” he told the Daily News, in Spanish, at the Manhattan Detention Center. “I have nothing.”
When he was busted by police in Paterson, N.J., several days after the killing, he was about to get a tattoo — and “didn’t even know what Junior looked like until I saw his face on television,” Martinez-Estrella told The News.
Martinez-Estrella said he works in construction “almost every day,” suffers from epilepsy and when Junior was killed last Wednesday he was miles away in the Keystone State.
Another suspect, Jose Tavarez, 21, who also spoke to The News in Spanish at the same jail, said he’s too busy working and trying to finish high school to get caught up in street violence.
“I’m a guy who works and studies,” Tavarez said, burying his face in his hands. “I don’t have the heart to kill anyone.”
Police, however, said the two men, plus six others, were rightfully busted and charged with murder.
Martinez-Estrella seemed confident of his defense, saying he and his live-in, pregnant girlfriend, Jacqueline, will head south after his release.
“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.”
Martinez-Estrella said he and Tavarez are friends, and while he wasn’t at the bodega when Junior was attacked, his buddy was — but Tavarez ran away when he saw someone pull out a machete.
In his interview with The News, Tavarez said the same thing. While admitting he knows some of the suspects, he said he had no idea who Junior was or what the others were about to do.
“I ran into the bodega because I was afraid,” Tavarez said in Spanish. “I saw the guys with the machete and I got scared.”
Asked why he didn’t help Junior, he repeated “I was scared.”
Martinez-Estrella said he also knows three other suspects, Jose Muniz, Daniel Fernandez and Antonio Hernandez-Santiago, and that all of them, including Tavarez, “are being tried for something we didn’t do.”
The accused killer also disparaged Junior as “not the innocent child everyone is claiming he is.”
Tavarez said he immigrated to New York in 2015 from the Dominican Republic and is the oldest of three siblings.
“You come to New York to make your life better,” he said. “I am not that kind of guy (who would do anything like this).”
Junior, he added, deserves justice.
“But … I didn’t do anything,” Tavarez said.
In an exclusive jailhouse interview with The News on Thursday, suspect Kevin Alvarez, 19, admitted to yanking Junior out of the bodega so the other alleged killers — believed to part of the Trinitarios gang — could attack him.
But he said he thought it would be only a beatdown — not a fatal hacking and stabbing.
Alvarez was indicted Friday in Bronx Supreme Court for second-degree murder.
Junior’s mom and other family packed the courtroom, wearing all black.
“I was nervous,” said Leandra Feliz, about seeing her son’s suspected killer. She said she planned to attend the arraignments next week of the others.
“Justice is coming. I will be here … every day,” she said.