Judge Says Verdejo Faces Death Penalty, Victim’s Father Says 100 Year Sentence

By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent

San Juan, PR (May 6th, 2021)– Puerto Rican lightweight veteran contender Felix Verdejo is reportedly being held at the Guaynabo Metropolitan Detention Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, without bail. During a virtual hearing (there is no courtroom at present due to the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus Pandemic on the island). Verdejo was charged with the kidnapping and carjacking which resulted in the death of Keishla Rodríguez, and with intentionally killing an unborn child which could be his. It has been revealed Verdejo did not make any comments during the virtual hearing on Monday, May 3, 2021, in which he relied on a translator.

Presiding judge Camille Velez stated “This is a death penalty-eligible case.” However, the victim’s father, Jose Rodriguez, stated to television network TeleOnce “I don’t believe in that because if you give the death penalty to a person who did what he did, you are helping him. It is better to throw 100 years (sentence) on him, and for him to keep that burden of conscience (of his guilt) on his mind every day (he will still live).”

A criminal complaint filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation accuses Verdejo of punching Rodríguez in the face, then injecting her with a syringe filled with an unidentified substance bought at a public housing complex. The complaint then alleges Verdejo bound her arms and feet with wire and tied a heavy block to her body, before throwing her off a lagoon bridge at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, April 30, 2021, then shot at her body below in the water with a firearm from the bridge above. People have gathered at the bridge since the incident, demanding justice.

Verdejo went to the home of Rodriguez that Thursday to see the results of a pregnancy test she had informed him about. Rodríguez was reported missing later in the day after she didn’t show up for her job at an area animal grooming business. Her remains were found in a lagoon near the capital on Saturday, May 2, 2021. Officials identified her on Sunday, May 3, 2021, via existing dental records.

Verdejo, 27-2, 17 knockouts, San Juan, Puerto Rico, a winner of seven consecutive World Boxing Organization Latino Lightweight regional title bouts, represented Puerto Rico at the 2012 Olympics.  Verdejo last appeared in the ring in December 2020, fighting but losing in another WBO regional title bout in Las Vegas. The FBI complaint says an unidentified witness helped Verdejo kidnap Rodríguez and with the resulting events. The United States government has 30 days to present the case to a Federal grand jury.