Ex-Puerto Rico boxer Félix Verdejo found guilty on two charges tied to death of his pregnant lover

WORLD NEWS

July 29, 2023

In a shocking and tragic conclusion to a 25-week trial, former Puerto Rican boxer Félix Verdejo was found guilty on Friday on two charges related to the horrifying death of his 27-year-old pregnant lover, Keishla Rodríguez. The verdict, which followed a trial that exposed gruesome details of the April 2021 killing, has left Puerto Rico and the boxing community in shock.

The jury convicted Verdejo on the charge of kidnapping that resulted in death and one count of causing the death of an unborn child. However, unanimous verdicts could not be reached on the charge of intercepting and stealing a vehicle with the consequence of causing a death, or the charge of carrying a weapon to commit a violent crime. U.S. District Judge Pedro Delgado Hernandez has scheduled a sentencing session for November 3, where Verdejo could potentially face a life sentence.

Federal prosecutors built their case on the testimony of over 30 individuals, including key witness Luis Antonio Cádiz, a friend of Verdejo who was also implicated in the case. Cádiz, who pleaded guilty last year under a plea deal with prosecutors, testified that Verdejo had pressured Rodríguez to undergo an abortion before the fatal incident.

According to Cádiz's chilling testimony, on the day of the killing, Verdejo physically assaulted Rodríguez, injected her with a substance believed to be heroin, and, along with Cádiz, tied her limbs to a cement block before throwing her off a busy bridge in broad daylight. Disturbingly, a pathologist confirmed that Rodríguez was still alive when she was thrown into the lagoon below the bridge. Cádiz revealed that he made an anonymous 911 call days later, disclosing the location of Rodríguez's body.

The autopsy revealed the presence of fentanyl and xylazine, a sedative used for horses and other animals, in Rodríguez's system. Her tragic death has further ignited calls in Puerto Rico for improved measures to protect victims of domestic violence, as the case underscores the dire consequences of such violence.

Félix Verdejo, who represented Puerto Rico at the 2012 Olympics and transitioned to a professional boxing career the same year, concluded his stint in the lightweight division with a record of 27-2, featuring 17 knockouts. The stunning turn of events has not only marred his career but has also cast a dark shadow over the world of boxing, prompting reflection on the need for accountability and justice within the sport.

As the legal proceedings move towards the sentencing phase, the repercussions of this tragic incident extend beyond the courtroom, leaving a lasting impact on the community and raising broader questions about the responsibilities of those in the public eye. The Félix Verdejo case serves as a stark reminder of the intersection between fame, personal responsibility, and the profound consequences of heinous actions.

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Miguel Rivera Author

Miguel Rivera, dedicated Puerto Rican journalist, passionately tells stories, amplifying voices, fostering change, and connecting communities through insightful reporting.

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