Baron Colon, who once appeared on an MTV reality show while vowing to avoid prison, is headed there for life after a jury Tuesday convicted him of killing a West Kendall art dealer.
Jurors deliberated seven hours before convicting Colon, who in 2009 was a finalist on the reality show From G’s to Gents, which was supposed to help street thugs reform their ways.
Prosecutors said that Colon, who appeared on the show knowing he was a suspect in the murder of Marcelo Vera, who was found shot to death inside his West Kendall home in January 2006.
Colon was not arrested until 2011 — after he confessed in detail to a wired-up undercover informant working with Miami-Dade police.
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“The bottom line: He got away with this horrific crime for far too long, and now the jury has spoken,” said Miami-Dade prosecutor Christine Hernandez Baldwin.
Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez will sentence Colon on Sept. 17. By law, the judge must sentence him to life in prison for the conviction on a charge of first-degree murder.
The 44-year-old Vera was a Cuban exile art dealer and son of a former high-ranking government official on the island. Featured in a 1988 front-page Herald article, Vera served in Angola’s civil war with the Cuban army and split with the government after protesting executions there.
At trial, jurors heard that Colon persuaded one of Vera’s disgruntled employees, Stefany Concepcion, to go along with a plan to rob the dealer of cash inside his home.
The woman — who is now serving 15 years in prison — testified that she helped Colon and two others gain entry into the home, where they shot Vera to death.
It was not until years later that Colon confessed to a childhood friend, Jerry Rios, who was secretly recording the conversation at the behest of Miami-Dade homicide detectives.
Defense lawyers Alex Michaels and Jaime Peters countered that the confession was nothing more than bragging — Miami rapper GhostWridah even testified that hip-hop artists often lie about being involved in crimes simply to puff up their street cred.
Jurors ultimately didn’t buy the argument.