Pedro Bravo indicted for murder and kidnapping in disappearance of Christian Aguilar

On Tuesday, as more charges were brought against his son’s accused killer, Carlos Aguilar kept searching.
It had been 19 days since Christian Aguilar disappeared somewhere in Gainesville. More than two weeks had passed since police arrested the accused killer, a former high school friend of Christian Aguilar’s from Doral Academy Preparatory School.
Then came Tuesday, when a grand jury reaffirmed the murder charge against Pedro Bravo and added another — kidnapping.
But Christian Aguilar’s body was still missing.
Hours after hearing the grand jury’s decision announced, Carlos Aguilar returned to another patch of woods to search, again. The added charge did not deliver what he needed most.
“I haven’t found my son. What I’m looking for is to find my son, so I can get everything ready with my family,” Carlos Aguilar said. “That’s what I really need.”

Read More

Death penalty for shooter in South Beach kidnap, rape, murder

Joel Lebron deserves to die for kidnapping, raping and executing a popular South Miami High teen, a jury decided Friday.
By a vote of 9-3, jurors recommended execution for Lebron, who last week as convicted of the slaying of Ana Maria Angel in April 2002.
The jury deliberated two hours. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas will ultimately deliver the final sentence.
Lebron, 34, was one of five Orlando men who kidnapped Angel and her boyfriend as the couple finished a South Beach moonlight stroll. After robbing them, the men gang raped Angel in the back of their truck, then slit her boyfriend’s throat, leaving him for dead alongside Interstate 95 in Broward County.
Alongside the interstate in Palm Beach County, Lebron and another man marched Angel down an embankment, into the brush near a sound barrier wall. Lebron shot Angel in the back of the head as she begged for her life, her hands clasped in prayer

Read more here:
Read More

Man With Face Tattoos Claims Misidentification

Adriana Johnson clearly remembers the January afternoon six years ago when she watched her father scuffle with a young man on a Liberty City street. She remembers the teen skirt down a side street, return with an AK-47 rifle and unleash a flurry of bullets. The memories, on Tuesday, were crisp:
Her mother bleeding from the leg, screaming that she had been shot.
The homicide detectives investigating the murders of her parents presenting her with a photo lineup. The instant recognition. The killer sported two distinctive tattoos inked on each cheek.
“Crosses. On each side of his face,” Adriana, now 16, told jurors Tuesday, on the opening day of the murder trial for Benito “Bo” Santiago.
The suspect’s conspicuous crucifix tattoos lay at the heart of the prosecution’s case against Santiago, 23, charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
On Tuesday, prosecutors said that Adriana and another witness identified Santiago, whom they knew from around the neighborhood, as the man who killed Grace Armstrong, 27, and Adrian Johnson, 28.
The second witness, prosecutor Kathleen Cortes told jurors, knew Santiago well — she had allowed him to sleep at her home from time to time.
But defense attorney Alan Greenstein said prosecutors have no physical evidence linking Santiago to the crime and eyewitness testimony is unreliable. The second witness, Patricia Wilcher, never housed Santiago in the months preceding the shooting because the teen was living in New York at the time, Greenstein said.
“She’s got the wrong man,” Greenstein told jurors.

Read more here:
Read More

Ex-boyfriend admits stabbing woman and her dog to death in Miami Gardens

An ex-boyfriend told police he went to a Miami Gardens home to make amends with his former girlfriend.
Now, Alphonso Jerard Lucas admits he stabbed Terrilyn Gray and her dog to death, and harmed her daughter as well, police say.
“He called me and told me ‘I killed her,’ ” Lucas’ sister, Kimberly Martin, said Tuesday. “He was crying hysterically, saying he stabbed her. He was in shock with his own crime.”
Lucas, 39, turned himself in to Miami Gardens police late Monday.
Gray, 42, and the dog were found dead inside their Miami Garden’s home, in  the 4500 block of Northwest 180th Street.
Gray’s daughter, Curtina Gray, 22, escaped and was taken to Jackson North Hospital, where she was listed in stable condition Tuesday night.
Lucas was booked Tuesday afternoon into the Miami-Dade County jail, where he is being held without bail. He faces first-degree murder, attempted murder and armed battery charges.

Read more here:
Read More

Kendall teen’s killer gets life without parole

Juan Carlos Portieles watched Tuesday, the final day of his first-degree murder trial, as a Miami-Dade prosecutor slumped face-down on a car seat in front of jurors, showing how Jaclyn Torrealba might have died.
But only Portieles saw exactly how his 18-year-old ex-girlfriend died three years ago.
Tuesday, Judge Victoria Brennan sentenced Portieles, now 33, to life in prison without parole. Jurors deliberated for four hours before finding him guilty of planning and causing Torrealba’s death.
Family members and friends of Torrealba, a Florida International University freshman, embraced outside the Miami-Dade County Courthouse afterward. Torrealba’s parents shared a tearful hug moments after the sentencing of the man who killed their only child.

Read more here:
Read More

Trial begins for Miami DJ accused of killing teen girlfriend

State prosecutors in the first-degree murder trial of a Hollywood man who confessed to beating and strangling his teen girlfriend, painted a portrait of a young girl on Thursday who was in a hurry to grow up, but never got the chance.

Jaclyn Elisse Torrealba went missing in the early hours of Oct. 11, 2009 after she was seen at a downtown club with a man with whom she had been romantically involved. The next day, Juan Carlos Portieles turned himself in to Miami-Dade police. He said his dead girlfriend was in the car.

Her face was pummeled and bitten. Strangulation marks could be seen on her neck.

Torrealba was 18.

Read more here:
Read More

Murder Suspect Mails Himself Key Evidence

Dwayne Lebarr Jr., police say, strangled and beat his older lover to death inside a North Bay Village apartment, and later drove to a UPS packaging store to do something even more unexpected.

He mailed himself the key evidence.

According to a newly released court documents, Lebarr sent himself a package containing the bloody clothes detectives believe he wore last month when he allegedly killed Craig Douglas Wolfe, 63.

Detectives intercepted the package, which also contained a laptop police believe Lebarr stole from Wolfe.

The blood-stained clothes and electronics, also including a camera police believe he bought with Wolfe’s money, are now crucial evidence in the murder case against Lebarr.

But Lebarr, 18, is a fugitive and is believed to be hiding somewhere in South Florida.

Read more here:
Read More

Kendall Man’s Stand Your Ground Motion Falls Short

A former Kendall bank executive who gunned down his ex-wife’s unarmed husband, lost his bid at immunity under Florida’s controversial self-defense law.

A judge Wednesday rejected Cristobal Palacio’s claim that he was defending himself against Paul Winter, who was shot six times — including twice in the back in October 2008— as Palacio’s 7-year-old twins watched in horror.

The judge’s ruling means that Palacio, 46, will face a jury trial next week for first-degree murder.

Palacio and ex-wife Jennifer Winter had undergone a bitter divorce that culminated in September 2007. Afterward, she married Paul Winter, a British-born graphic designer she met online.

Palacio claimed Winter spent months tormenting him, twice putting a gun to his face and frequently using profanity against him. The confrontations, Palacio claimed, took place during custody visits.

But Jennifer Winter testified Wednesday that her husband never owned a gun and was a peaceful “nerd” who avoided conflict. She also said her jealous ex-husband blamed Winter for their breakup.

Paul and Jennifer Winter had gone to Palacio’s home to drop off the twins for a week of court-appointed visit. Palacio claimed Winter charged at him in the driveway, reaching for what appeared to be a gun.

Read more here:
Read More

Murder trial for Aventura developer begins Monday

Opening statements are set to begin Monday in the murder trial of Adam Kaufman, 39, an Aventura developer accused of strangling his wife.

Miami-Dade prosecutors will tell the 12-person jury that Kaufman strangled Eleonora Kaufman, 33, in the bathroom of their Aventura house, then lied by claiming she fell and hit her neck on a bathroom magazine holder.

Eleonora Kaufman’s death remained unclassified for months until Dr. Bruce A. Hyma, Miami-Dade’s chief medical examiner, ruled she died from mechanical asphyxiation.

Arrested in 2009, Kaufman is charged with second-degree murder and faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Read more here:
Read More
  • 1
  • 2