Jurors Wednesday began hearing evidence to determine whether Joel Lebron, the Orlando man convicted last week of the kidnap, rape and murder of a South Miami High teen in April 2002, should face the death penalty.
Lebron was one of five men arrested for kidnapping Ana Maria Angel and her boyfriend from South Beach. She was gang-raped and executed as she begged for her life alongside Interstate 95.
Miami-Dade prosecutors are seeking the death penalty because of the “heinous, atrocious and cruel” nature of the “premeditated” slaying.
Lebron’s defense lawyer told jurors Monday that Lebron should be spared because he grew up in a crime-infested neighborhood, was the son of a drunkard father and suffered a damaging head injury in a childhood car accident.
The jury, probably on Thursday, will recommend execution or life in prison. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas will deliver the sentence.