From the instability of her native Argentina, Mariana Miguens came to Miami Beach in 2000 with hopes of one day becoming a marine biologist.
But a long and tormented relationship with her boyfriend cut those dreams short when he stabbed her six times in the stomach and neck–with a butcher knife.
“This was particularly vicious and brutal death,” Miami-Dade prosecutor Christine Hernandez Baldwin told a judge on Monday. “The victim was stabbed so viciously her intestines spilled out. The only sentence that justice demands is a life sentence.”
Miami-Dade Judge Rodolfo Ruiz agreed, sentencing Silvio Rojas to life in prison for the vicious domestic slaying in North Beach in June 2012. A jury had earlier convicted Rojas of second-degree murder with a firearm. At trial, Rojas’ defense suggested he did not kill her intentionally.
Since coming to the United States, Miguens had worked various jobs, including doing manicures and pedicures. She was taking English classes with hopes of being able to study marine biology.
“In Argentina, she didn’t like it because of the insecurity but here she was happy,” said her mother, Norma Misiti. “She was a really beautiful person.”
Miguens, 37, had also applied to become a U.S. citizen. Her approval papers arrived in the mail the day she was murdered.
Described as extremely jealous, Rojas had a history of physically abusing Miguens, although prosecutors believed she never reported the episodes to family or friends.
The murder happened on June 23, 2012, at the couple’s apartment on the 7600 block of Abbott Avenue.
According to prosecutors, Rojas grew upset because Miguens was not home when he returned to the apartment that night. When she came home, an argument ensued and Rojas grabbed a butcher knife and stabbed her.
Miguens, bloodied and in shock, managed to stagger out of the apartment, telling a neighbor to call 911, prosecutors Hernandez and Joseph Mansfield told jurors at trial.