Trial begins for man charged in alleged rape, murder case
MIAMI (WSVN) -- The trial has begun for a South Florida man charged in a horrific and fatal attack on a teenager.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys are delivering their opening statements Wednesday, in the trial of Joel Lebron, the alleged shooter in the kidnapping, rape and murder of Ana Maria Angel back in 2002.
According to prosecutors, Ana Maria and her boyfriend, Nelson Portobanco, were on a date, strolling the beach after dinner, when they were kidnapped and robbed by Lebron and four other men.
Portobanco was stabbed and left for dead while Ana Maria was raped by all five men, prosecutors said, then she was shot in the back of the head. Portobanco survived the horrific attack.
Portobanco took the stand and said he was stabbed multiple times and then played dead. "I was stabbed multiple times my face my back, my arm, the back of my head," he said. "At that point once he started stabbing me, and I fell to the ground, and I was lying in a fetal position, and they proceeded and started kicking me in my head. At that point I just decided to just lay and pretend I was dead."
Portobanco recalled the moments. "She was crying asking to stop," he said.
Prosecutors said the gun misfired twice before the third shot killed Ana Maria. "He pulls the trigger and this time he got what he wanted, a bullet in the back of that young woman's brain," the prosecutor said in court as she pointed to a portrait of Ana Maria.
The defense team for Lebron have begun their opening arguments.
Three other men have already been convicted in this case. Another man's trial remains pending.
Ana Maria would have been 29 years old.
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