Former Olympic boxer Felix Verdejo will serve two consecutive life sentences in federal prison for the murder of his girlfriend Keishla Rodriguez Ortiz and her unborn child.
He was officially sentenced on Friday after being found guilty of the crimes back in July of this year by a jury of his peers in Puerto Rico.
Just before handing down the sentence, the judge in the case said that Verdejo, ‘ended the lives of two people. He did it in a horrendous way…
‘The level of cruelty only added to the tragedy that led to these unfortunate events. Those lives, as well as those of the family, have been changed forever. There is no way to go back on this.’
Being ordered to serve his time in a federal prison, Verdejo will not be able to serve part of his sentence on parole.
Félix Verdejo has been found guilty in the murder of his pregnant girlfriend Keishla Rodriguez
Keishla Rodríguez was expecting a child with Puerto Rican boxer Félix Verdejo. She met him April 27, 2021 outside her home to show him results that she was expecting a baby and was attacked by the former world champ in his car before she was drugged and dumped in a lagoon in San Juan. Her body was recovered May 1, 2021.
Back in July, he was found guilty of both murders, but the court did not agree on two other charges Verdejo faced – carjacking that resulted in the death of a person and possession/use of a firearm in the commission of a crime.
When the verdict was announced in July, the parents of the deceased – Jose Antonio Rodriguez and Keila Ortiz – felt justice was done and hope the murder of their daughter sticks with Verdejo forever.
‘In my mind I thought many things, but not in my heart,’ Mr. Rodriguez said. ‘I got up every day to come here with the purpose of making her count.
‘I have always said that he will live the rest of his life thinking about what he did to my daughter, and that is his worst condemnation. I do not wish him death, I wish him good health and that he can last as long as he can last… if he wants to last 200 years, let him last, but always remember what he did to my daughter.’
Mrs. Ortiz stressed, ‘Justice was done for my daughter and my grandson, they did justice for both because they are two lives.
‘Keishla was sitting on the (court) bench with her baby. I don’t think the verdict will be reversed at all. This was a macabre murder.’
A jury of three women and nine men had deliberated since the afternoon on Tuesday in a trial that took a total of 25 days up until Friday.
The body of the 27-year-old Rodriguez Ortiz was found on May 1, 2021 in a lagoon in the Puerto Rico capital of San Juan.
Keishla Rodríguez was reported missing April 29 after she failed to shop up for work at a pet grooming shop and was found dead two days later in a lagoon in Puerto Rico
Her killing took place two days prior, when the victim’s mother reported her disappearance after she failed to show up for work.
According to a court document reviewed by DailyMail.com, Verdejo, also 27, reached out to an accomplice Luis Antonio Cádiz on April 27, 2021 and offered to pay him so that he could help terminate Rodríguez’s pregnancy.
Cadiz was also charged with crimes in relation to this case – but he reached a plea deal with the prosecution in exchange for his testimony.
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 a blood test that confirmed she was pregnant.
The mother warned her that Verdejo was dangerous, claiming that he had threatened her in the past because she did not want to proceed with his desire to abort the pregnancy.
Instead of going to her apartment alone, Verdejo was accompanied by Cádiz and met Rodríguez outside her residence where she boarded the boxer’s SUV.
Verdejo, who maintained a friendship with Rodríguez dating back to their days in middle school, punched her in the face and then 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.
Verdejo and Cádiz then allegedly used wires to bind her hands and ankles, and affixed a concrete block to her.
Keishla Rodríguez was expecting a baby with Puerto Rican boxer Félix Verdejo, who she was friends with since middle school
They later drove toward the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge and dumped Rodríguez’s body into the San José Lagoon, at approximately 8:30am. Cadíz told the FBI that Verdejo stood on the bridge and used his gun to shoot at Rodríguez.
Verdejo, who represented Puerto Rico at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, was charged with utilizing and carrying a gun during and in connection to a violent crime. He pled not guilty to the charges. As a result of the conviction, he could face the death penalty.
A judge approved a request from federal prosecutors and denied both defendants bail.
Rodríguez’s death sparked protests in Puerto Rico, which declared a state of emergency in January over its deep-rooted problem of violence against women.
As reported in 2021, the island had seen sustained levels of violence that on average result in one woman’s death per week, a 2019 report from non-profit advocacy groups Proyecto Matria and Kilometro Cero said, echoing a problem in other Caribbean and Latin American countries.