KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Vicenta Guzman still remembers the day her 14-year-old was stabbed and killed after an incident in the bathroom of Northeast Middle School.
“Being my only baby, it’s hard,” Vicenta said during a rally outside the Family Justice Center Friday. “Fourteen years of memories, and then, you say goodbye with his beautiful smile, and then you see him at the hospital laying there.”
That day in April 2022 was when Vicenta saw her son Manuel Guzman, who went by the name Manny, for the final time.
“Without saying anything to you, just, ‘Sorry mom, we couldn’t make it.’ It’s the worst words that you can hear,” Vicenta said Friday.
Originally, the teen accused in Manny’s death was charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, and unlawful use of a weapon. Now, he’s charged with voluntary manslaughter.
Family members held “Justice for Manny” signs Friday afternoon. Kids were wearing T-shirts with that slogan as well. Vicenta’s upset there was a plea deal in the case.
“We lost so much during this process with my child,” she said. “For them to just accuse him of a manslaughter, I disagree, and I think everybody who understands and puts their shoes in my shoes can understand that it’s not fair at all.”
The teenager also wasn’t charged as an adult. Vicenta believes the killing was premediated.
“There is evidence where there’s text messages where he is typing, ‘What would you guys do if I was to kill Manny?'” she continued Friday. “‘What would you guys do if I stabbed him?'”
The Jackson County juvenile officer, who was not working Friday, is not commenting on the charges.
Manny’s uncle Juan isn’t happy with the plea deal either, saying the other teen planned the stabbing.
“For somebody that planned to kill somebody and stab them more than just once, six times, he had this planned out for months,” he said.
“I feel like he should get the max, charged like an adult because this was just for him to think about it and even put it on social media, I just feel like he should get what he deserves.”
The teen’s next court hearing is 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Family Justice Center.