Felix Verdejo Won’t Face Death Penalty On Murder Charges
A Monday afternoon update on the murder case involving former world Lightweight contender Felix Verdejo of Puerto Rico, who was arrested last May on charges of allegedly killing his mistress. That is that U.S. Prosecutors there will apparently not seek the death penalty, but instead a life in prison sentence without the possibility of parole.
At a hearing mid-day Monday in San Juan, Federal Magistrate Camille Vélez Rivé got the update from lead prosecutor Stephen Muldrow that after several months of considering it, the government won’t seek death for Verdejo nor his alleged accomplice, Luis Antonio Cadiz in the late April slaying of 27 year old Keishla Rodríguez.
Entérate de los detalles aquí https://t.co/CVZ4dReWvx
— El Vocero de Puerto Rico (@VoceroPR) January 31, 2022
From their item on today’s hearing (translated),
Rodríguez, who was Verdejo’s partner, was 27 years old at the time of her murder. Her body was thrown from the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge into the San José lagoon, tied with two blocks. The direct cause of her death was suffocation by immersion, so it was concluded that she was alive when she fell into the water.
Verdejo’s alleged accomplice, Luis Antonio Cadiz Martínez, would not face the death penalty either, according to federal justice.
Verdejo Sánchez and Cádiz Martínez face a charge of carjacking resulting in death, a charge of kidnapping resulting in death and a charge of killing an unborn child, according to the statement from the Federal Prosecutor’s Office.
The fighter also faces an additional charge of using and carrying a firearm during and in connection with a crime of violence.
Verdejo was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 6, 2021, and is represented by attorneys Laura Maldonado, José Irizarry, and death penalty expert David Ruhnke. Meanwhile, Cádiz Martínez’s lawyers are José Aguayo and capital punishment expert Gary Proctor.
The indictment alleges that the defendants assisted each other, with intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, seized Keishla’s Kia Forte vehicle by force, intimidation, and violence, which had been transported, shipped, or received in the interstate commerce.
It is alleged that on or about April 29, 2021, “the defendants, aiding and abetting each other, unlawfully seized, kidnapped, and otherwise held Keishla, resulting in her death.”
Verdejo had refused to cooperate with investigators in late April about Rodriguez’s disappearance, while the frantic search was on for her. Her body was found Saturday May 1st in a lagoon near Carolina, Puerto Rico.
Cadiz, who is a car washer and detailer by trade, apparently became acquainted with Verdejo through washing his vehicles. And, he told authorities that he was asked a couple of weeks prior to Rodriguez’s disappearance by the fighter to assist him with his situation with Rodriguez. He also reportedly told authorities about her coming to meet Verdejo on Thursday April 29th.
San Juan investigators went to Verdejo’s home Saturday night May 1st and impounded his Dodge Durango SUV for further analysis and investigation into Rodriguez Ortiz’s death. The bridge above the lagoon video reportedly shows the Durango SUV on the bridge, leave and then, come back twice over a 30 minute period on that Thursday morning. Cadiz alleged to authorities that Verdejo actually shot at Rodriguez Ortiz’s body in the lagoon from the bridge.
El Vocero further reported authorities found a shell casing of a bullet on the bridge and allegedly, found blood potentially from the victim on the bridge that was processed, as well.
Cadiz is alleged in the indictment to have driven Rodriguez’s vehicle and dumped it in a remote area away from Verdejo’s home area.
Verdejo is a former amateur star in Puerto Rico having represented the country in the 2012 Summer Olympics. He had risen to top 10 status as a Lightweight contender with a 27-1 record before losing to Masayoshi Nakatani in Las Vegas on the Top Rank/ESPN show in December 2020.
Verdejo and Martinez are still being held at the Guayanbo Metro Detention Center without bond.