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Stabbing victim's family says they are still looking for justice as killer awaits sentencing

Posted at 8:11 PM, May 12, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A stabbing victim's family says they are still seeking justice as the teen who killed their loved one waits to be sentenced.

​"Manny was a happy kid," said Vicenta Guzman, mother of Manny Guzman.

He was Vicenta's only child.

"It's been a hard year for me losing my child. I lost myself. I lost everything," she said.

A classmate stabbed Manny to death in a restroom in April 2022.

Manny's family stood outside the Jackson County Family Justice Center Friday in KCMO pleading for justice in his case.

Prosecutors worked out a plea deal for the teen accused in the death to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter. The 15-year-old will not face trial on the original first-degree murder charge.

"He's old enough to know when you're stabbing someone you could kill them," said Nevaeha Shaffer, who went to elementary school with Manny.

Vicenta Guzman told KSHB 41 reporter Alyssa Jackson it was difficult to sit in court and see the child accused of killing her son.

"Every time I went to court to defend my child and I would see him, I had tears in my eyes because I do ask myself: what if it was my kid? But it wasn't," Vicenta Guzman said.

Juan Guzman, Manny's uncle, said he does not like the reduction in the charge in Manny's death.

​"A 14-year-old killing another 14-year-old," he said. "Giving him manslaughter and making it easier for another young person to do the same thing."

They also have many questions for the Kansas City, Missouri, Public School District.

​"For this kid to bring this in school, a knife, how did he get that in there?" Juan Guzman said.

Manny's classmate said a year later, not much has changed inside the school.

"There's still a lot of violence in the schools," Shaffer said. "I fear a lot because anytime I hear a loud bang in the hallway or commotion, I get scared."

The teen who stabbed Manny will have a disposition hearing May 17.

KSHB 41 reached out to KCPS for a statement on whether any security protocols have changed. The district acknowledged the request but has not gotten a response.