MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The trial against Dennis Escobar took more twists and turns Monday as he rejected a plea deal he was expected to take.
It’s a case that has been 25 years in the making. Escobar and his brother Douglas Escobar were both charged in the murder of a veteran Miami police officer, Victor Estefan, in 1988 during a routine traffic stop in Little Havana.
However, a series of legal entanglements have delayed the case.
The pair was first convicted during a trial in 1991 and sentenced to death. However an appeal submitted to the Florida Supreme Court overturned that decision.
Now, the pair faces a re-trial.
Dennis Escobar was expected to accept a plea deal that would have sentenced him to a 55-year term along with his brother, but on Monday Dennis Escobar unexpectedly announced that he was rejecting the plea.
The decision frustrated family members including Estefan’s grief-stricken son, Angel, who stormed out of the courtroom saying, “[Expletive] playing games. That’s what this is.”
To the Estefan family, the delays have caused more heartache. Delia Estefan, Victor’s widow, keeps pictures of their wedding day in her purse. She also keeps a poem a former prosecutor wrote about Victor that includes this line: “A big bear you were, watching over your woods, Little Havana was your neighborhood. Victor, where are you? Who’ll stand where you stood?”
Delia Estefan spoke to CBS4 News’ Chief Investigator Michele Gillen outside the courthouse Monday and said she wants justice for her late husband of 22 years.
“I want them finished,” Estefan said in Spanish. “They should die by lethal injection.”
Before that is even considered, lawyers will meet with the judge Tuesday to discuss more motions and listen to arguments about the recent emergence of a tape, which Dennis Escobar is said to have asked for his lawyer.
It could have major repercussions in the state’s case.
Defense Attorney Philip Reizenstein asked the judge for a hearing to determine if there was any cover up by prosecutors.
For now, a trial could continue next week. Judge Leon Firtel asked jurors to remain on standby.