Man Guilty In Miami Beach Kidnapping, Slaying

MIAMI - A man was found guilty Wednesday of taking part in the abduction of a young couple, killing the girlfriend and leaving the boyfriend to die.

A Miami-Dade County jury deliberated for more than 11 hours before convicting Cesar Mena on one count of murder, two counts of armed kidnapping, two counts of robbery and one count of attempted murder. Mena was acquitted on a rape charge.

Nelson Portobanco and his girlfriend, Ana Maria Angel, both 18-year-old high school seniors at the time, were walking back to their car after a date when investigators say the men jumped the couple and pushed them into the pickup truck April 27, 2002.

"There was a conversation in the truck that (Portobanco) and Ana were going to be let go," defense attorney Eric Cohen told the court. "(Mena) didn't expect that anybody was going to be physically harmed. Cesar did not participate in those acts."

Angel's body was found along Interstate 95. She had been shot in the head and repeatedly raped. Portobanco survived the attack.

"This defendant knew what all his other buddies were going to be doing," Assistant State Attorney Abe Laeser told jurors. "Part of his job was: Make sure they got away with it. Clean the truck. Clean the gun. Get out of town."

In June, another man convicted in the attack, Victor Caraballo, received a death sentence. The other men involved in the abduction are still awaiting trial.

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