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Boxer Félix Verdejo pleads not guilty in killing of Keishla Rodriguez Ortiz

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Verdejo Sánchez

Puerto Rican boxer Félix Verdejo Sánchez pleaded not guilty to federal charges linking him to the killing of Keishla Rodríguez Ortiz, his pregnant ex-lover found dead on April 29. Verdejo Sánchez is facing one count of carjacking resulting in death, one count of kidnapping resulting in death, one count of killing an unborn child and a count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

Similarly, Luis Antonio Cádiz Martínez, a second person indicted in Rodríguez Ortiz’s killing, faces one count of carjacking resulting in death, one count of kidnapping resulting in death, and one count of killing an unborn child. Cádiz Martínez also pleaded not guilty. 

Verdejo and Cádiz entered their pleas during virtual hearings that were held from the San Juan prison where they have been held in custody since last week when the suspects turned themselves into federal authorities in San Juan. Both accused requested bail but they were denied. 

Cádiz Martínez, a former federal convict, has been identified as a witness who cooperated with the FBI, which has been investigating the case alongside the Puerto Rico Public Safety Department, the Puerto Rico Police Bureau and the Puerto Rico Justice Department, Telemundo Puerto Rico reported

The body of Rodriguez Ortiz was found floating on the San José Lagoon near the Teodoro Moscoso bridge in San Juan, two days after her family reported her missing.  

Details of the crime

On the morning of April 29, Rodríguez reached out to her mother, Keila Ortiz, to inform her that she would be meeting Verdejo at her home to present him the results of her pregnancy. Her mother warned her that Verdejo Sánchez was dangerous, but Keishla still decided to meet him. The mother alleges that Verdejo had threatened Keishla in the past because she did not want to abort the pregnancy while he wanted to do so. 

Verdejo and Cádiz met Rodríguez outside Rodríguez Ortiz residence where she boarded the boxer ‘s SUV. Then Verdejo allegedly  punched her in the face and injected her with an unknown substance that he had purchased from drug dealers at the Luis Llorens Torres residential complex in Santurce, Cádiz told the FBI.

Then they both tied Rodriguez Ortiz’s hands and ankles, affixed a concrete block to her, and drove toward the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge. They dumped Rodríguez’s body into the San José Lagoon, at approximately 8:30 am. Cadíz told the FBI that Verdejo stood on the bridge and shot at Rodríguez.

Even though the death penalty is not legal in Puerto Rico, both accused could face federal death penalty charges due to the special findings at the indictment that include “Verdejo Sánchez procured the commission of the offense by payment, or promise of payment” and “Cádiz-Martínez committed the offense as consideration for the receipt, or in the expectation of the receipt, of anything of pecuniary value,” among other factors, the U.S. The Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico said.

Verdejo Sánchez represented Puerto Rico at the Olympics back in 2012 and is also known as “El Diamante.” He is now at the fate of the federal justice. 

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