wplg logo

Testimony continues in 2002 murder trial

Joel Lebron accused of killing Ana Maria Angel in 2002

MIAMI – Testimony continued Monday in the trial of Joel Lebron, one of five men accused of kidnapping, raping, and murder Ana Maria Angel in 2002.

Opening statements were heard in the trial last Friday. Two weeks ago, the judge overseeing the case declared a mistrial after Miami Beach Police Detective Larry Marrero referred to a defendant who had already been convicted in the case.

Marrero, the lead detective in the case, was called to the stand for a second time on Monday.

"Did he tell you that the victim was begging for her life?" said prosecutor Reid Rubin.

"Yes, he did," said Marrero.

According to investigators, Angel 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 at the time, 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, Angel was repeatedly raped and Nelson was beaten, said prosecutors. Police said Portobanco was eventually thrown out of the truck along I-95 and left for dead.

Both Portobanco and Magarita Osorio, Angel's mother, took the stand on Friday.

The five are accused of killing Angel execution-style at the side of I-95 near Boca Raton to keep her from identifying them. Police said Lebron, now 33, was the gunman.

Three of the five have been convicted. Two were sentenced to life in prison; one is awaiting a second sentencing hearing since his death penalty sentence was overturned.

If convicted, Lebron could face the death penalty.