A third suspect has been busted and hit with murder and gang assault charges for his alleged role in the deadly Christmas Eve beating of a 60-year-old gay man in the Bronx.
The NYPD announced the arrest of a 14-year-old boy on the morning of January 10 and charged him with second-degree murder along with two gang assault charges, marking the latest development in a case in which three teenagers have been accused of killing Juan Fresnada as he and his partner, Byron Caceres, were leaving a McDonald’s on Third Avenue near East 164th Street.
The teen, whose identity is being withheld because he is a minor, is the second minor to be charged in the case after a 15-year-old was busted on January 6. Eighteen-year-old Abu Conteh was the first person to face charges in the case, though he has maintained his innocence and claimed to the Daily News that he did not play a role in the attack.
The attackers first targeted Fresnada and his partner in a robbery attempt, but they pounced on Fresnada when he wouldn’t give in, kicking and punching him before hitting him with a steel garbage can. He was transported to Lincoln Hospital, where he died three days later, on December 27.
All three suspects have been charged with murder and gang assault charges, but the two minors are likely to be treated differently because state law considers teens who are 13, 14, and 15 years of age to be juvenile offenders when they are accused of serious or violent felonies. Those cases are reserved for the youth part of the Supreme Court, where defendants are subject to less severe penalties.
The NYPD did not return emails seeking clarification about whether more suspects are still at large. Police originally said that there were five attackers. Authorities have not produced any evidence pointing to a hate crime in the case or that the attackers knew Fresnada and his partner were a couple.
The attack drew attention from local leaders who rallied at the scene of the beating on January 7 to raise awareness about violence in the neighborhood. Bronx State Assemblymembers Vanessa Gibson and Michael Blake, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and Bronx State Senator Luis Sepúlveda were among those on hand.