Jury convicts 4th man in SoBe rape, murder
MIAMI (WSVN) -- It took the jury only 20 minutes to deliberate the fate of a man accused of raping and murdering an 18-year-old woman on South Beach 10 years ago.
The verdict was announced just after 4 p.m. Friday. Thirty-three-year-old Joel Lebron was guilty on all seven counts in the rape and murder of Maria Angel. He could face the death penalty in this case. His sentencing is scheduled for next week Wednesday.
The victim's mother said she has waited a long time for this case, as Lebron was the accused trigger man. She also said she would like to see him get the death penalty.
Closing arguments wrapped up in the case earlier that same afternoon. According to prosecutors, Angel and her boyfriend, Nelson Portobanco, were on South Beach when they were kidnapped by Lebron and four other men.
Portobanco was stabbed and left for dead while Angel was raped by all five men, prosecutors said, before she was shot in the back of the head. Portobanco survived the attack.
Three of Lebron's four co-defendants, Victor Caraballo, Jesus Roman and Cesar Mena, have already been convicted in the case. The fourth, Hector Caraballo, is still awaiting trial.
This marked the second case against Lebron after his first trial earlier this month ended in a mistrial when a detective mentioned the previous convictions of Lebron's co-defendants.
In his closing statement prosecutor Reid Rubin chronicled Angel's last seconds before, he said, Lebron shot her in the back of her head. "After being raped, down that slope, she's going, 'Please don't kill me, Please don't kill me, Please don't kill me, Please don't kill me,' and who is she speaking to? She is speaking to him [Lebron]," said Rubin.
The defense had argued there was not enough evidence against Lebron, and, they said, the testimony in the case had been inconsistent. "This description of this statement was so choreographed. Did you notice that at a certain point, Detective Marrero actually stopped using the words, 'Mr. Lebron said,' and he stopped using the words, 'This is what he said,' or 'He said,'" said attorney Jeffrey Fink.
(Copyright 2012 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)