SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Today, after an eight-day jury trial, a jury found Cristian Serrano-Delgado guilty of Hobbs Act robbery and murder, announced U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez for the District of Puerto Rico. The FBI and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) were in charge of the investigation.
During trial, the government showed that on September 11, 2017, Cristian Serrano-Delgado, along with other two individuals, approached Herol Café, also known as “La Tumba” in Ponce, PR, and announced a robbery to four men sitting outside the establishment. The co-defendants brandished a knife and a gun and they took money and jewelry from the four individuals and from the business, while Serrano-Delgado waited outside by his BMW.
An off-duty Police of Puerto Rico officer, Roberto Medina Mariani, who was inside the establishment, discharged his firearm at one of the defendants who returned fire and mortally wounded him. After the shootout, Serrano-Delgado drove his co-defendants away from the scene.
The other defendants were Jonathan Valentin-Santiago and Rubén Miró-Cruz. Valentin-Santiago pleaded guilty on November 8, 2018, and his sentencing is scheduled for February 6, 2019. Miró-Cruz pleaded guilty on October 16, 2018, and his sentencing is scheduled for January 15, 2019.
“I hope that this conviction will help the victim’s family find some closure,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “We will continue to work diligently to prosecute violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. Senseless acts of violence which threaten our communities and innocent victims will not be tolerated.”
The defendant faces a minimum of ten years up to life imprisonment. The defendant will be sentenced on March 18, 2019, before the Honorable District Judge Francisco Besosa. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Alum and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Omar Barroso were in charge of the prosecution of this case.
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