KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The family of a 14-year-old stabbed to death at school is sharing their frustration weeks after the suspect in his death took a plea deal.
The family of Manuel Guzman said they want the suspect to have a stricter charge.
Officials said a schoolmate stabbed Guzman during a fight in the bathroom of Northeast Middle School a year ago in April.
Last month, the 15-year-old charged with his death took a plea deal to two lesser charges. The teen was originally charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon.
Now, he’s charged with voluntary manslaughter.
“We just miss everything about my nephew,” Manuel’s Aunt Carina Guzman said. “We miss it all.”
For this family, nothing can bring back Manuel or Manny, as they call him, but they say proper justice could ease the pain.
“It would mean that they looked at him as a person, and not just, here’s another case moving on.” Manuel’s Aunt Kayla Guzman said.
The convicted killer, now 15 was not charged as an adult.
“There’s blood on their hands and it won’t be the last if we don’t hold them accountable once and for all,” Kayla Guzman said.
The family’s next step is a rally on Friday, May 12, for Manny. The rally is at 2 p.m. at 625 E 26th St. Kansas City, MO 64108
“We not only fighting for my nephew’s justice,” Carina Guzman said. “We are fighting for all those kids that have been through the same situation as my nephew and still don’t have justice.”
FOX4 reached out to the family court, but their office was closed for the holiday.
Guzman’s family released a full statement for the Jackson County Family Court and Kansas City Public Schools.
“First and foremost, we would like to inform the public of the truth in regard to what happened to Manny. This was not a case of self-defense or anything lesser than a brutal attack. There was no fight in the bathroom leading up to this horrific crime. there was no security guard to be found during the entirety of this incident. Manny was violently stabbed 5 times throughout his chest and once in the lower back. All vital areas. Making that 6 total times. The intention to ensure Manny would not survive was clear. This was premeditated and the evidence of that was provided to the court. This was executed with pure malice. This was an ambush. Nothing more.“
“The school chose to resume classes the very next day following his murder and to make matters worse, did not even close off that bathroom where the crime took place. Making it seem as if nothing happened. Their irresponsible actions throughout this whole ordeal were disgraceful and disheartening to say the least especially for their students, their staff and most importantly, Manny. It was their responsibility to protect him and every other student who attended their school and they failed tremendously.”
“We would also like to make note that Manny was in no part gang affiliated nor did he have a record of being a troubled child who would intentionally cause harm to his peers. He was well mannered and attended counseling regularly. Excelled in anything that kept his attention or came easy to him. His mother did everything in her part in raising him properly to the best of her ability. He demonstrated the self-motivation to pursue his dreams of being somebody great, especially in sports. He made it clear to his friends and close family members that he was going to be someone of importance in our society. Manny had the effortless ability to leave an everlasting effect on anyone who had any type of interaction with him or were lucky enough to form a friendship with him. He was special and will be missed by many. His family and friends are suffering from his absence and life has become very dull since his passing. While we do our best to keep going, this is the reason we are fighting for justice. In his name and all other victims of such heinous crimes. Our fight for justice will not be in vain.“
“Secondly, the prosecutor in this case should hold no position of authority when it comes to these types of crimes. She is not prosecuting to the full extent of the law. She has become desensitized to the victims and their families. She and the court are doing the victims and this community no good by allowing these violent offenders to be released with a slap on the wrist, some therapy and a clean record moving forward. Age should no longer be considered when the crimes committed were extremely violent such as murder and rape. In these cases, I’ve witnessed her sympathize with the criminal and boldly speak on how she wants to help these individuals more than anything. That is very concerning to us as parents and should be to the rest of the parents out there who live within the community. Or anyone for that matter. Especially when the offender shows zero remorse for their actions.“
“In the case of Manny’s murder, the court had every right to try this person as an adult and they simply chose not to. They took the easy route. This is why we are fighting for justice and to be heard because up until now we have been disregarded and ignored.
“Lastly and what brings us here now, we are reaching out to the public today and pleading with you all to help us bring awareness to injustice on multiple levels. Manuel Guzman’s life has been shown to mean very little to the authorities and school board of Jackson County, Mo and the KCMO school district respectively. Manny was hunted and killed in a very personal and brutal manner in which true justice and proper punishment should be dealt as a result.”
“Too many times here in Kansas City and all across the country, people of color have fell victim to unnecessary violence only to have themselves and their families being judged and put on trial of public opinion because of societal backgrounds. No child deserves to be brutally stabbed to death for any reason whatsoever.”
“The truth of the matter is that, had this happened across state lines in affluent Johnson County, Kansas where the predominant population is white, more effort would have been made to right this situation and ensure safety for every citizen. We’re asking the Courts and the School District to make guarantees to develop safer neighborhoods and public spaces in which they are 100% responsible. I beg all parents to join together in this coalition for change and demand to be heard and treated with respect in regard to reform. If the authorities want to cover this up and move to close cases on plea deals in order to push their own agenda, we will protest and make ourselves a nuisance in seeking to have those people in power removed from office.”
“There is blood on their hands, and it won’t be the last if we don’t hold them accountable once and for all.”
“The lives of people of color are in peril because of lack of sympathy for them as a whole but we stand and say no more!”
“We love all of you and will fight for you and your loved ones to no end. Speak up and Step out for Justice.”