Just over two years after the shocking details of lightweight contender Felix Verdejo having allegedly kidnapped and killed his mistress, Keishla Rodriguez, in Puerto Rico, he was found guilty on two of four serious charges Friday night.
The jury, which had been deliberating for over three days, returned guilty verdicts on two counts of Kidnapping resulting in Rodriguez’s death and the death of her unborn child. And, both of those convictions have 99 year sentences for Verdejo.
El Vocero Newspaper reported more from San Juan Friday,
— El Vocero de Puerto Rico (@VoceroPR) July 29, 2023
“A jury made up of three women and nine men tonight found ex-boxer Félix Verdejo guilty of two counts: kidnapping that ended in the death of a person and death of an unborn minor,” the paper wrote.
“On the charges of armed robbery or “carjacking” and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, the jury decided that it could not reach a decision.
Despite the fact that in the afternoon there was a deadlock between the members of the jury that seemed to threaten that there would not be a verdict and after more than 24 hours of deliberation, the group finally made a decision.
The verdict was reached after 22 days in which the jury heard from 31 witnesses from the federal prosecution and nine defense witnesses, looked at dozens of photos, transcripts of messages -some of them deleted and recovered- videos from security cameras, maps and diagrams.”
As we wrote previously, Verdejo had been facing the death penalty in connection with the April 2021 alleged murder of his years old mistress, Rodriguez, who was also found to be pregnant with his child. Eventually, prosecutors took the death penalty off the table and charged Verdejo with four serious felonies that all would hold a life sentence.
The now 30 year old Verdejo and his accomplice, Luis Antonio Cadiz, were charged with having kidnapped Rodriguez, drugging her and then, after Verdejo murdered her, having disposed of her body by Verdejo throwing it off a bridge into a lagoon near Carolina, Puerto Rico. Rodiguez’s body was found two days later.
Cadiz elected to plead guilty to his involvement in the plot and aiding Verdejo last November. He still faces 30 years in prison, but it’s expected it will be less due to his cooperation in a plea deal and for his testimony during the trial.
Rodriguez’s family wept in the courtroom at the announcement of the verdicts and told the media outside that while still in mourning for her death, that Verdejo’s convictions were just. Her father previously told the media that that the family agreed to not have the death penalty charges for Verdejo, but rather for life in prison.
As for Verdejo, he was 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 a televised Top Rank/ESPN show in December 2020.
Verdejo will face sentencing November 3rd and will likely receive the two concurrent life sentences without the possibility of parole.