One of the men charged in the killing of a nuclear engineer who was stabbed to death after attending a party in southwest Miami-Dade is no longer facing a murder charge after he struck a deal with prosecutors Thursday.
Edwin Rios, 24, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony battery and will have to testify in the murder case for the October killing of Alexander Restrepo.
"I’m sorry, I wish it never would have happened, I didn’t know it was gonna happen, it shouldn’t have happened," Rios said in court Thursday.
As part of the deal, Rios will be on community control with a GPS monitor for two years followed by eight years of probation, according to his attorney, Peter Heller. He'll also have to fully cooperate with investigators and prosecutors.
"I've seen the discovery, the video in this case, it's very clear, and the state is convinced also, my client did not participate in the stabbing," Heller told reporters Thursday. "My client entered the fight after this person was stabbed, did not know he was stabbed, did not see the stabbing."
In court Thursday, Restrepo's loved ones had a chance to address Rios and they didn't hold back.
"You are an absolute scumbag and I hope this haunts you for the rest of your miserable life," one family member said.
The outburst resulted in a reprimand from Judge Alberto Milian.
"I ask that you have a bit more compassion in your heart when you speak here," he said.
Restrepo, 33, was found lying on the grass near Southwest 147th Street and 157th Avenue with multiple stab wounds shortly before 3 a.m. on Oct. 21, police said. Paramedics rushed him to Jackson Memorial Hospital South where he later died.
Detectives say Restrepo had been at a house party at a home that about 60 or so people attended. Police said Restrepo and some friends were confronted by a group of males at the party.
Restrepo and his friends walked away but detectives say they were confronted a second time down the block, which led to a fight and the stabbing of Restrepo. Restrepo's brother, Christopher, was stabbed in the hand and head but survived, police said.
Alejandro Esteban Tapia, 22, and brothers Andres Felipe Feo, 24, and Sebastian David Zorrilla, 20, were all arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the killing. They remain behind bars without bond.
Alexander Restrepo had a master's degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Florida, and worked at Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station.
"I have confidence in this young man, I mean, he has to live with the fact that this happened - not that he perpetrated it but he was involved - for the rest of his life," Heller said, speaking about Rios. "It's just an absolute tragedy, I'm heartbroken for the family."