A New Jersey man will be sentenced to life in prison Friday for the murder of retired Miami police captain Robert Yee at a river marina.
A jury last month convicted Rafael Toirac-Aguilera, 39, of first-degree murder thanks to DNA and fingerprints found on orange-juice bottle used as a homemade silencer found at the crime scene.
Under Florida law, a conviction for first-degree murder carries a mandatory life prison sentence.
Yee spent 25 years as a Miami cop, retiring in the mid-1990s after a decorated career that included leading the department’s horse mounted patrol. Back in 2009, he had returned to work, overseeing daily operations at the self-service Hurricane Cove marina on Northwest North River Drive.
Prosecutors said Toirac-Aguilera, in a rented silver car he drove from New Jersey, pulled up and shot the 61-year-old as he was riding in the golf cart he used to patrol the grounds in July 2009.
Prosecutors believe the killer – exactly whom remains a mystery – was dispatched by someone upset that the retired officer was telling federal agents about illegal activities at the marina.
The key clue was the Tropicana orange-juice bottle, wrapped in black tape that had been used as a homemade silence. The bottle blew off the barrel of the gun and landed near Yee’s body.
Finger and palm prints, plus DNA on the lip of the bottle, matched Toirac-Aguilera – a New Jersey man who had been arrested in a domestic-violence case there a few months after the shooting.
At trial, Toirac-Aguilera’s ex-girlfriend testified that in July 2009, the two drove a rented Silver Toyota Corolla to Miami. She believed he was coming for some unspecified work. Multiple eye witnesses told police that the gunman drove a silver Corolla.