MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The first day of testimony in the retrial of a South Florida man charged in a horrific and fatal attack on a teenager ended late Friday afternoon..
Joel Lebron is charged in the kidnapping, rape and murder of 18-year-old Ana Maria Angel in 2002.
Lebron, 33, is one of five men accused of the crime. She and her boyfriend, Nelson Portobanco, were abducted from South Beach and held hostage in a truck after a midnight stroll on the beach.
Prosecutors said the Orlando-area men had gang-raped Angel, while Portobanco had his throat slit and was dumped on the side of Interstate 95 in Broward County. Prosecutors say Lebron shot and killed Angel off I-95 in Palm Beach County as the young woman begged for her life. Her body was found two days later.
Lebron confessed to the murder, prosecutors say, and is linked to the crime by DNA and fingerprint evidence.
One of the first to testify Friday is a former security guard who worked at Penrod’s who had seen the suspect’s truck parked there.
Ana Maria’s mother, Margarita Osorio also testified. She was on the stand for about 15 minutes and confirmed that the clothes in state’s evidence were worn by her daughter the night she was kidnapped. She told the jury she didn’t learn her daughter had died until two men in dark suits came to her house to ask her to identify the body.
Miami Beach crime scene technician Det. Lenett Holbrook took the stand next and described the condition of Ana Maria’s body when she was sent to investigate it.
A judge granted a mistrial last week after a lead detective mentioned, on the stand, that a co-defendant was earlier convicted of the slaying, a fact that jurors were not supposed to know.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas, who has presided over the trials and convictions of three of five of the accused, called the remark “highly prejudicial” and declared a mistrial.
Charged with first-degree murder, sexual battery and other felonies, Lebron is facing the death penalty if convicted.