MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The mother of an 18-year-old who was kidnapped, gang raped and executed says she has “justice” after her attacker Joel Lebron is sentenced to death.
“I feel satisfied and I feel calm to know to finally be able to say that we have justice,” says Margarita Osorio. She told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “It’s a relief. It’s a weight lifted off our shoulders.”
Osorio spoke after Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas broke down as he handed down a death sentence in the first degree murder of Osorio’s daughter, 18-year-old Ana Maria Angel.
“The court finds that the aggravating circumstances clearly and convincingly outweigh the mitigating factors,” said Judge Thomas in delivering his sentence.
He said that Lebron’s actions in late April of 2002 “required the ultimate penalty.” As he looked at Lebron, he said, “The court sentences you Joel Lebron to death. You will be sent to the Florida State Prison until the day of your execution.”
The crime took place on the night that Angel was celebrating her four-month anniversary with her 17-year-old boyfriend Nelson Portobanco. They were kidnapped at gunpoint while walking in the sand on South Beach.
Portobanco’s throat was slit and he was left for dead alongside Interstate 95 in Broward County. He survived and alerted police.
Lebron and four other accomplices gang raped Angel in the back of their truck.
Alongside the highway in Palm Beach County, Lebron and another man marched Angel down an embankment and 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.
Lebron was also given six life sentences to be served consecutively, for counts including the armed robbery and kidnapping of both Angel and Portobanco and the attempted first degree murder of Portobanco and the armed sexual battery of Angel.
Once again, Osorio heard the chilling details in court involving her daughter’s death.
The Judge said Lebron placed his gun to Angel’s head and pulled the trigger three times. She heard a horrifying click on two occasions but no bullet discharged.
“With each pull if the trigger, Ana Maria must have labored under the constant fear that her death was imminent,” said Judge Thomas. She was killed when Lebron pulled the trigger for a third time.
Osorio shed tears as she listened and she thought of her daughter.
“It’s my way to concentrate and be with her,” she said. “And to always ask her to guide her through this.”
Portobanco told D’Oench, “We have been waiting for this for a long time. Justice was served today. A big door has closed. This will help us move forward. This was for her, for Ana. There is justice. I had a lot of emotion too today about this. Now we will try to live life as well as we can. We have to take each day as we go, one day at a time.”
Assistant State Attorney Reid Rubin said, “Lebron stands for the absolute pinnacle of culpability for this crime: the abduction, gang rape and execution of an innocent young woman.”
Lebron showed no emotion as the sentence was handed down. His family members were not in court.
His attorney Jeffrey Fink said he would appeal in the next 30 days, saying that two other accomplices who planned the crime received lighter sentences.
Fink said one co-defendant, Hector Caraballo, received a 50-year sentence and another accomplice was give a life term.
“The death sentence for Mister Lebron was not appropriate,” said Fink.
A jury in October of 2012 by a vote of 9-3 had recommended that Lebron be executed.