Boxer Félix Verdejo faces DEATH penalty as he's indicted for murder of pregnant girlfriend who 'he threw off bridge'
PRO Boxer Félix Verdejo has been indicted by a grand jury and could be executed if he is found guilty of killing his pregnant lover Keishla Rodríguez Ortiz who was found dumped in a San Juan lagoon on Sunday.
The 27-year-old former Olympian who is known in the ring by the moniker "El Diamante" or “The Diamond” was indicted on Thursday as dozens of mourners turned out to remember Rodríguez Ortiz at her wake, the Associated Press reported.
“This is a case that has shocked Puerto Rico,” said Carmen Romero, who commuted a long distance to offer her condolences.
A criminal complaint filed in San Juan federal court accuses Verdejo of brutalizing the 27-year-old Rodriguez when she died.
He allegedly used his trained fists to punch the woman in the face and injected her with a mysterious substance using a syringe.
Sometime around at 8.30am on Thursday, investigators suspect Verdejo bound the woman’s arms and feet with wire, tied a heavy block to her and tossed her off a bridge.
Then Verdejo allegedly fired at least one round at Rodríguez’s body as he hovered over her on the edge of the bridge.
"Verdejo shot at the Victim with a pistol from the bridge," the affidavit states, according to ABC News.
The woman’s corpse was found in a lagoon in the US territory’s capital of San Juan on Saturday.
But it wasn’t until Sunday when dental records confirmed the victim was Rodriguez, Puerto Rico’s Institute of Forensic Science said in a statement.
Her family had reported Rodriguez missing soon after she failed to clock in for her job at a dog grooming shop.
Verdejo reportedly sought the help of an unnamed accomplice who aided the boxer to kidnap and kill Rodriguez.
Verdejo is married but remained close to Rodríguez since they were in middle school, Keila Ortíz Rivera, the victim’s mother, told reporters.
Her mom said that she and her daughter last spoke late last Thursday, before Verdejo allegedly paid a visit to the expecting mother's house.
"Yesterday we spoke at 7:00am she told me: 'Mommy, Felix is coming to see the pregnancy test, but the blood test.'”
The mother recalled warning her daughter to be leery.
She told her daughter, “'Girl, be careful', because he had already threatened [you] not to have the baby, that he has his family, that he is a boxer, that he is a public figure,’" she told a local news outlet.
Two hours later, the mother received a dreaded phone call informing her that her daughter was a no-show at work.
Rodriguez’s sister allegedly spoke to Verdejo pressing him for her sister’s whereabouts, and the fighter was oblivious.
He would surrender soon after the body's identity was confirmed by authorities.
A federal judge remanded him without bail.
The out-of-wedlock pregnancy was allegedly a point of contention for Verdejo, who reportedly urged Rodriguez to abort the unborn child.
"When she told him that she was pregnant, there he started threatening her," her mother Rivera claimed.
"That if you are going to take them off, that you are going to have an abortion, that if I am a public figure, that if I have a family, that if the family here or there and she said, 'Don't worry, you don't have to admit it, I just want my baby'."
Verdejo, who has earned 27 victories as a lightweight in the ring, 17 of them by knockout, fought for Puerto Rico in the 2012 Olympics and turned pro that year, the Associated Press reported.
When word of the death penalty fate could meet Verdejo should he be found guilty of slaying Rodriguez, her father wasn’t sure it was a fitting punishment.
“That doesn’t solve anything for me, José Antonio Rodríguez told WAPA TV on Wednesday.
“What’s done is done," he said. “Let him remember every day who my daughter was.”
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