MIAMI – Opening statements will be heard Wednesday morning in the trial of a man accused of kidnapping, raping, and killing a senior in high school in 2002.
A jury was selected Tuesday evening in the trial of Joel Lebron. Many in the jury pool told the judge they remembered the case even ten years later.
Lebron, now 33, is the fourth of five men to go to trial for the torture and death of honor student Ana Angel of Southwest Miami-Dade. Ana was 18-years-old in the spring of 2002, two months from graduating South Miami High, when she was out celebrating an anniversary with her boyfriend Nelson Portobanco on South Beach when five people kidnapped them and forced them into their truck at gunpoint.
As they rode north to Orlando where the defendants came from, Ana was repeatedly raped and Nelson was beaten, said prosecutors. He was dumped out and left for dead. The five are accused of killing Ana execution-style at the side of I-95 near Boca Raton to keep her from identifying them.
Margarita Osorio, Ana's mother, prepared to head to court Tuesday to see the jury empanelled. She spoke to Local 10's Glenna Milberg at her home, describing how she finds the strength to face the men accused to taking her only daughter.
"In the love that I have for her and the support of family and friends," said Osorio.
Three of the five have been convicted. Two are sentenced to life in prison; one is awaiting a second sentencing hearing since his death penalty sentence was overturned.
Opening statements are scheduled to be made at 10 a.m.