Tag Archives: criminal attorney miami

DCF worker in Rilya’s case testifies in court

The first indication of trouble came in the form of Rilya Wilson’s case file: It seemed unusually thin.

State child welfare worker Dora Betancourt, who took over the 5-year-old foster child case in April 2002, examined the paperwork and noticed that no one had checked on Rilya in more than a year.

After a series of phone messages to Rilya’s foster mother, Betancourt came face-to-face with Geralyn Graham in the driveway of her Kendall home.

“Where’s Rilya?” Betancourt asked.

“Oh, I thought you were bringing her back,” Graham said, according to Betancourt, who testified Wednesday during Graham’s murder trial in Rilya’s disappearance.

Betancourt told jurors Wednesday that Graham’s story unfolded in a bizarre and confusing fashion. She said an unnamed Department of Children and Families worker whisked the 5-year-old away for some sort of mental health evaluation more than a year before

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/12/05/3127856/employee-who-discovered-rilya.html

Jurors in Brewer burning case to go before judge

Three years to the day after a group of Deerfield Beach Middle School classmates doused Michael Brewer with rubbing alcohol and set him on fire, nearly killing Brewer, a Broward judge will interview six jurors  about their June deliberations before reaching a guilty verdict against the teen accused of inciting the attack.

Jurors’ responses could lead to a new trial for Matthew Bent, 18, who was found guilty of aggravated battery for his role in the attack, and faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Broward Circuit Judge Matthew Destry recalled the jurors after defense attorneys moved for a new trial based on allegations by the jury forewoman, who alleged that fellow jurors in the trial began discussing the facts and reaching conclusions before closing arguments.

“The record is incomplete with regard to whether jurors began their deliberations early,’’ Destry said at a September hearing.

Destry also has yet to rule on Bent’s motion for acquittal, which is based on defense attorneys’ claims that there was insufficient evidence to prove that any of the teens involved in the attack intended to set Brewer on fire.

Pedro Bravo indicted for murder and kidnapping in disappearance of Christian Aguilar

On Tuesday, as more charges were brought against his son’s accused killer, Carlos Aguilar kept searching.

It had been 19 days since Christian Aguilar disappeared somewhere in Gainesville. More than two weeks had passed since police arrested the accused killer, a former high school friend of Christian Aguilar’s from Doral Academy Preparatory School.

Then came Tuesday, when a grand jury reaffirmed the murder charge against Pedro Bravo and added another — kidnapping.

But Christian Aguilar’s body was still missing.

Hours after hearing the grand jury’s decision announced, Carlos Aguilar returned to another patch of woods to search, again. The added charge did not deliver what he needed most.

“I haven’t found my son. What I’m looking for is to find my son, so I can get everything ready with my family,” Carlos Aguilar said. “That’s what I really need.”

Death penalty for shooter in South Beach kidnap, rape, murder

Joel Lebron deserves to die for kidnapping, raping and executing a popular South Miami High teen, a jury decided Friday.

By a vote of 9-3, jurors recommended execution for Lebron, who last week as convicted of the slaying of Ana Maria Angel in April 2002.

The jury deliberated two hours. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas will ultimately deliver the final sentence.

Lebron, 34, was one of five Orlando men who kidnapped Angel and her boyfriend as the couple finished a South Beach moonlight stroll. After robbing them, the men gang raped Angel in the back of their truck, then slit her boyfriend’s throat, leaving him for dead alongside Interstate 95 in Broward County.

Alongside the interstate in Palm Beach County, Lebron and another man marched Angel down an embankment, into the brush near a sound barrier wall. Lebron shot Angel in the back of the head as she begged for her life, her hands clasped in prayer

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/05/3035868/jury-deliberates-punishment-in.html#storylink=cpy

Latest Update on missing UF student Christian Aguilar

As friends and strangers, police officers and relatives trudged through thick brush Wednesday, bound by the single mission of finding University of Florida freshman Christian Aguilar, police revealed ominous details about the prime suspect in the disappearance, casting a pall over an increasingly grim search.

Police said Pedro Bravo, the last person seen with Aguilar, bought a shovel and duct tape days before Aguilar’s Sept. 20 disappearance. After searching the wooded fields around Gainesville, investigators have not found a shovel, tape or any other evidence.

Nor have they found any sign of Aguilar, an 18-year-old freshman who went to high school with Bravo at the Doral Academy Preparatory School in west Miami-Dade.

“It’s eating me alive to find out that Pedro could have actually planned this,” said father Carlos Aguilar, 45, of west Miami-Dade. “It’s hard to think about, but I still have faith and I am hoping my son is alive.”

Aguilar’s younger son, Alexander, 16, now a student at Doral Academy, said the newest development was “scary.”

“I am trying to stay positive, trying not to let myself think of the worst-case scenario,” he said Wednesday.

Bravo, a student at Gainesville’s Santa Fe College, told police that he fought with Aguilar, beating him for 10 to 15 minutes before leaving Aguilar “bloody, swollen and barely breathing or moving” in a wooded area, court records show.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/26/3022803/grim-news-for-searchers-of-missing.html#storylink=cpy