Sentencing Phase Begins in Joel Lebron Trial

Man convicted in brutal rape and murder of Miami girl to be sentenced

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    Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas, Miami Beach Det. Armando Sarabia, prosecutor Reid Rubin and defense attorney Jeff Fink spoke in court as the sentencing phase of Joel Lebron's trial began Wednesday. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012)

    The sentencing phase in the trial of a man convicted of the brutal rape and murder of a Miami teen and attempted murder of her boyfriend began Wednesday.

    A state prosecutor painted a heartwrenching portrait of one of the victims of Joel Lebron's crimes, while his attorney tried to avoid the death penalty for his client.

    Guilty Verdict Reached in Joel Lebron Trial

    [MI] Guilty Verdict Reached in Joel Lebron Trial
    A jury found a man guilty on Friday of the brutal rape and murder of a Miami teen and the attempted murder of her boyfriend. The victim's mother, Margarita Osorio, said the man on trial was the one who did the most damage. (Published Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012)

    Lebron, 33, was convicted of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, robbery and kidnapping in the shocking April 2002 crime last Friday.

    Police said Lebron and four other Orlando men kidnapped 18-year-old Ana Maria Angel and her boyfriend, Nelson Portobanco, at gunpoint while the couple was taking an evening stroll on South Beach.

    The men gang-raped 18-year-old Angel and then Lebron executed her on the side of I-95 in Boca Raton with a gunshot to the head, prosecutors said. Lebron also stabbed Portobanco multiple times in an effort to kill him, but Portobanco survived.

    Attack Survivor Testifies at Joel Lebron Trial

    Joel Lebron Case: Focus on DNA as Trial Nears End

    [MI] Joel Lebron Case: Focus on DNA as Trial Nears End
    Prosecutors sent jurors in the Joel Lebron trial a message all day Thursday: he can't run away from his own DNA. Jeffrey Johnson, the Miami-Dade County crime lab's DNA expert, spent the entire day on the witness stand. Lebron is accused of being one of the five men who kidnapped Ana Maria Angel and her boyfriend, Nelson Portobanco, at gunpoint 10 years ago in South Beach. Johnson showed the jury Lebron's shoes, and testified that blood spattered on those shoes belonged to Portobanco. He survived the kidnapping and multiple stab wounds allegedly inflicted by Lebron, but Angel was gang-raped and then killed, according to prosecutors. Johnson also showed the jury the truck seat cover on which the 18-year-old woman was raped, according to prosecutors. Closing arguments are scheduled for 8:15 a.m. Friday. (Published Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012)

    Prosecutor Reid Rubin painted a heartrending portrait of Angel, who was a school leader, athlete, and beautiful.

    "But sadly this is the lasting memory that they will have because of what the defendant did to her,” Rubin said, showing jurors an evidence photo.

    Lebron’s sister told the court about her brother’s hardscrabble up bringing in Puerto Rico, and how he had been severely injured when struck by a car.

    That point was amplified by his attorney, Jeff Fink.

    "You’re gonna hear that Joel was never the same after that accident," he said.

    The just-concluded trial was the second for Lebron, after the first one ended in a mistrial earlier this month because a detective inadvertently testified that one of the other defendants had already been convicted.

    The penalty phase is expected to last two days.

    Detective Testifies Again at Joel Lebron Trial