On a day when the local community gathered in the Bronx to shine a light on the deadly beating of a 60-year-old gay man on Christmas Eve, a second suspect — a 15-year-old boy — was arrested and charged in connection with the case.
Police busted the teen shortly before 1:30 p.m. on January 6 and charged him with second-degree murder and two counts of gang assault in the deadly beating of Juan Fresnada, who was ambushed by a group of attackers when he was leaving a McDonald’s with his partner, Byron Caceres, on Third Avenue near East 164th Street.
Fresnada, clinging to his life and suffering from swelling to his brain, was sent to Lincoln Hospital following the attack and died on December 27.
The arrest came six days after cops busted 18-year-old Abu Conteh on the same charges, though Conteh insisted to the Daily News he had nothing to do with the crime or the attackers and that he was merely passing by the scene of the murder.
The 15-year-old, whose name has not been disclosed because he is a minor, is expected to face different treatment due to his age: Under state law, teens who commit serious or violent felonies at 13, 14, or 15 years of age are considered juvenile offenders and their cases are handled by the youth part of the Supreme Court. They are subject to more lenient sentences than adults.
The arrest came just minutes after Bronx Councilmember Vanessa Gibson kicked off a gathering at the scene of the attack to denounce violence in the community.
Prior to making any arrests, police had said five individuals were being sought for their alleged role in the beating. Very little is publicly known about any other suspects beyond the surveillance video obtained after the attack. Video footage from the scene shows attackers relentlessly kicking and punching Fresnada before hitting him with a steel garbage can. They were then seen fleeing westbound on East 165th Street.
No evidence has surfaced that the attack was motivated by Fresnada’s sexual orientation or even that the perpetrators knew he and Caceres were a couple. Police have not said that a hate crime probe is underway.
Anyone with information about remaining suspects can call NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or in Spanish at 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be provided online at crimestoppers.com or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are confidential.