Miami Beach Detective Testifies Again at Joel Lebron Retrial

Miami Beach Police Det. Larry Marrero caused a mistrial with an inadvertent comment earlier this month

It must have seemed like déjà vu for Miami Beach Police Det. Larry Marrero Monday at the retrial of Joel Lebron. He was back on the witness stand, telling another jury the horrifying details of Lebron's alleged confession to raping and murdering Ana Maria Angel.

"He said Ana heard the click and began to beg for her life," Marrero testified. "He pulled the trigger again, and for the second time it was a dry fire, she was begging for her life, and he pulled it again and this time it discharged."

Lebron is accused of being one of the five men who kidnapped angel and her boyfriend, Nelson Portobanco, at gunpoint 10 years ago in South Beach. The men allegedly gang-raped angel, stabbed Portobanco multiple times and left him for dead, and then killed Angel execution-style, leaving her body on the side of I-95 in Boca Raton.

Portobanco survived the attack and testified Friday.

Less than two weeks ago, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas declared a mistrial when Det. Marrero inadvertently mentioned on the witness stand that one of the other defendants had been convicted. That's why Marrero is back on the stand as Lebron's case is tried again.

Prosecutors say Lebron was not only the triggerman who murdered Angel, but they say he's also the one who stabbed Portobanco and he's one of the three who took turns raping Angel, the 18-year-old South Miami Senior High School senior.

The evidence against Lebron is strong, but the jury will not hear his confession because the detectives messed up the recording process and ended up with a blank tape. That's why Marrero's testimony is crucial, as jurors are hearing Lebron's confession through the detective.

Throughout much of Monday’s testimony, Angel's mother, Margarita Osorio, wept quietly in the courtroom as the detective recounted the horrors suffered by her daughter. Three of Lebron's alleged partners in crime have already been convicted.

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