MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An Opa-Locka teenager is being held without bond after a court hearing and after Miami-Dade Police arrested him for shooting and killing a 71-year-old man.
As first reported first reported by the blog Random Pixels, Miami-Dade Police have identified the suspect who fatally shot Miguel Pilotos as 17-year-old Jamal Jackson.
The chilling crime was captured on surveillance tape at 4 p.m. on August 21st outside the Top Value Supermarket in Opa-Locka.
Miami-Dade Police spokesman Javier Baez told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that the arrest of Jackson on Thursday afternoon followed a tip to Miami-Dade Crimestoppers.
The victim’s widow told D’Oench that she is distraught about the loss of her husband but she is grateful that Miami-Dade Police made an arrest.
“Now I feel free. I give a lot of thanks,” said Aleida Pilotos, who said she and her husband had been married for 25 years and had come to the U.S. from Cuba 19 years ago.
“I am very nervous. I didn’t this incident would happen this way. He was just 17 and he could have done things with his life. It is a disgrace. We are all very sad for the loss. He’s a human being who didn’t deserve this, “ she said.
“He was just going to get groceries,” said Aleida Pilotos. “We need to make justice. This can not be compared. My heart is suffering. I have lost my love. He didn’t deserve to die like that. I’m devastated. What I know is that in this country there is justice.”
“My husband was a hard-working man,” she said.
Roberto Pilotos and Aleida Pilotos had pleaded for the public’s help at a news conference at Miami-Dade Police headquarters on September 5th.
On Friday, Roberto Pilotos told D’Oench, “We want to say thank you to the community for the help in the arrest of that man that killed him and thank you to the news and to the police.” Aleida Pilotos said her her husband had less than $20 with him.
Police say nothing was taken from him even though they say Jackson had cased the parking lot looking for a victim.
Police say the gunman rode up to Pilotos’s car on a bicycle and pulled out his weapon and shot him. It happened in the parking lot of the supermarket at Northwest 137th Street and Northwest 27th Avenue.
Jackson, according to police, has an extensive criminal history.
Authorities say he was arrested for burglary in Miami Gardens and for burglary, display of a firearm and aggravated battery in Opa-Locka in May. They say he was arrested for possessing cocaine in September of 2011 and in April of 2011, he was arrested by School Board police for battery on a law enforcement officer.
Jackson was not present at a hearing Friday afternoon at the Juvenile Justice Center. His mother and sister listened as the state announced it was taking this case to a Grand Jury. Jackson faces a court hearing on October 4th.
His attorney Rod Vereen said that’s when he expected to find out if the state was going to “direct file” second-degree adult murder charges or was going to announce that it had secured an indictment for first-degree murder from the Grand Jury.
“He’s a juvenile and he cannot under Florida law receive the death penalty if convicted,” said Vereen. “The state must go to the Grand Jury to get an indictment for first-degree murder. It can direct file second-degree murder charges.”
Vereen said he was taking the case because he was a friend of Jackson’s family and mother, who was identified in court records as Andrea M. Jones. She declined to say anything about the charges against her son.
“If it was him on the tape,” said Vereen, “he will have his day in court.” Vereen said there was nothing in Jackson’s past to lead him to believe that he would commit such a crime.
“That leads me to believe that it is him on the videotape, there could be some mental health issues. I have been advised that he suffered some serious head trauma four years ago from an accident where he was ejected from a vehicle. I don’t know how that plays into it, but we would probably have to have some doctors look at the records. We have to evaluate this to see if there are any mental health issues.”
Vereen also made an alarming statement that Jackson was “abused” by the officers who were questioning him after his arrest.
“He’s alleging physical abuse,” said Vereen. “There was a confession signed in this case and he is saying law enforcement beat him up while in custody. We understand the public defender’s office has photos of his injuries. And this could be an issue.”
A Miami-Dade Police spokesman said he doubted homicide detectives would ever act in such a fashion. They also said they had not heard of the allegations and could not officially respond to them.