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Final Defendant Sentenced in Fatal Bed-Stuy Gang Robbery

By Noah Hurowitz | September 13, 2017 6:07pm
 Juan Carlos Luna-Juarez at his 23rd birthday, weeks before he was fatally stabbed during a botched cell phone robbery in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Sept. 7.
Juan Carlos Luna-Juarez at his 23rd birthday, weeks before he was fatally stabbed during a botched cell phone robbery in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Sept. 7.
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BROOKLYN — A gang member who took part in a brutal 2014 Bed-Stuy attack that left one man dead and his brother seriously injured will spend two decades in prison for his part in the murder, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.

Celestino Martinez, 25, of Prospect Park South, was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in prison for the robbery on Sept. 7, 2014, during which Martinez and four accomplices fatally stabbed Juan Carlos Luna-Juarez in the heart and knifed his brother Angel in the back, acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said.

Martinez, who was tried separately from his co-defendants, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Aug. 16, and was the final person to be sentenced in the attack, Gonzalez said.

“Today’s sentencing brings to justice the final defendant in this harrowing case in which an innocent young man was killed and his brother was injured,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “We have now held all five defendants who participated in the robbery accountable and ensured they will spend many years in prison for their actions.” 

Juan and Angel Luna-Juarez were walking on Myrtle Avenue between Marcy and Tompkins avenues, less than a block from home, just before 2 a.m. the morning of the attack, when Martinez and five other men, all of whom were identified by prosecutors as members of the “Ninos Malos” gang, accosted the brothers and demanded cash, prosecutors said.

When the pair refused, Martinez and his fellow assailants launched into a vicious attack, punching, kicking and stabbing them, according to prosecutors. The group stole a bike and a backpack and fled the scene, leaving Juan Luna-Juarez mortally injured with about 10 stab wounds and Angel Luna-Juarez suffering from stab wounds to his back and leg, Gonzalez said.

The gang didn’t make it far from the scene of the crime and were picked up a short time later covered in blood with the brothers’ stolen property, as well as the knife used to kill Juan, prosecutors said. One of the attackers, Miguel Bello, 34, of Bed-Stuy, later admitted that he had been at the scene and had stabbed someone, prosecutors said.

Bello, along with Carmello Bello, 28, also of Bed-Stuy, Javier Ortiz, 35, and Martin Carillo, 36, both of Sunset Park, were convicted in March of murder and robbery. All four were sentenced in April to 25 years in prison.

Martinez was tried separately from the other men, and pleaded guilty on Aug. 16 to manslaughter, according to prosecutors. 

In the aftermath of the vicious attack, stunned co-workers and family members of the brothers managed to raise more than $3,400 to cover funeral costs and medical bills, including one co-worker who donated $1,500 to the family, the brothers' cousin Luis Rugerio said at the time.