MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In October, a Miami-Dade jury recommended giving Joel Lebron the death penalty for abducting, robbing, gang-raping, and murdering Ana Maria Angel in 2002, but Friday, he was back in court as attorney’s began to present more evidence at a “Spencer Hearing.”
The hearing, before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas, is where prosecutors and defense attorneys can present arguments the jury was not permitted to hear and allows the defense to try and sway the judge into a lesser sentence of life in prison instead of the death penalty.
The judge will then take some time to prepare a written sentencing order, and read it at a subsequent hearing.
In court Friday, a clinical psychologist has testified for the defense that Lebron has been a model prisoner so far.
Ana Maria Angel and her boyfriend Nelson Portobanco were attacked ten and a half years ago by Lebron and four others as the couple finished a South Beach moonlight stroll.
Lebron wielded the knife and the gun used to kill Angel during the attacks. He also admitted killing Ana Maria to avoid apprehension.
By a vote of 9-3, jurors recommended execution for Lebron.
The crime took place on the couple’s four-month anniversary. They had gone to dinner and afterward, they walked on the sand in South Beach when they were kidnapped and robbed.
Lebron and the men gang raped Angel in the back of their truck, then slit Portobanco’s throat, leaving him for dead alongside Interstate 95 in Broward County. He survived and alerted police.
Alongside the interstate in Palm Beach County, Lebron and another man marched Angel down an embankment, into the brush near a sound barrier wall. Lebron shot Angel in the back of the head as she begged for her life, her hands clasped in prayer.