Man in Miami Rape and Murder Case Wants to Withdraw Plea

Hector Caraballo claims he didn't understand terms of plea deal in Ana Maria Angel murder case

Friday, Nov 2, 2012  |  Updated 8:46 AM EDT
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Inside Miami's Crime History

Ana Maria Angel

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A man who accepted a 50-year sentence as part of a plea deal in the brutal rape and murder of a Miami teen and attempted murder of her boyfriend has changed his mind and wants to withdraw his plea.

Hector Caraballo claims he didn't understand the court interpreter who translated the terms of the plea deal, the Miami Herald reported Thursday.

“What Mr. Caraballo understood is that he will do 30 years in total, not 50,” Caraballo wrote in a letter to the judge, according to the Herald.

Caraballo, 40, had been facing the death penalty had he gone to trial in the April 2002 murder of 18-year-old Ana Maria Angel.

Police said Caraballo and four other Orlando men kidnapped Angel and her boyfriend, Nelson Portobanco, at gunpoint while the couple was taking an evening stroll on South Beach.

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

In September, Joel Lebron, who prosecutors say pulled the trigger, was convicted in the killing. A jury in October recommended the death penalty for Lebron.

Caraballo had accepted the plea deal on Oct. 26 but claims his court-appointed lawyers rushed him through the plea.

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