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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Puerto Rico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Individual Pleads Guilty For Carjacking That Resulted In Murder

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Edwin Torres-Osorio, aka “Bebe,” pled guilty yesterday to Count one of the indictment which charged that the defendant, along with  three others, aiding and abetting each other, with the intent to cause death and serious bodily harm, did knowingly, willfully and intentionally take a Toyota Matrix that had been transported, shipped or received in interstate and foreign commerce, from the person of José E. Gómez-Saladín, by force, violence and intimidation by striking him in the head, and in perpetration of said offense caused his death, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The sentence recommendation contained in the plea agreement is for 24 to 30 years imprisonment.

On November 29, 2012, Ruben Delgado-Ortiz, Torres-Osorio, Alejandra Berrios-Cotto and Lenisse Aponte-Aponte devised a scheme to rob a victim because Aponte-Aponte did not have enough money to pay her rent.  As part of the scheme, Berrios-Cotto and Aponte-Aponte would lure a victim and then Delgado-Ortiz and Torres-Osorio would approach the victim regarding a fictitious debt Aponte-Aponte owed Delgado-Ortiz, in the hopes the victim would satisfy the fictitious debt.

Later that night, the four co-defendants made their way to Padial Street.  A blue Toyota Matrix stopped nearby and Aponte-Aponte gave Delgado-Ortiz and Torres-Osorio the signal to approach the car and execute the plan.  Delgado-Ortiz and Torres-Osorio entered the car, and Delgado-Ortiz told Aponte-Aponte she had to give him the money she owed him.  Delgado-Ortiz had pepper spray in his pocket and used it to simulate the presence of a weapon. The driver, later identified as José E. Gómez-Saladín, eventually drove to an ATM machine where he, accompanied by Delgado-Ortiz, withdrew $400.00 and gave it to Delgado-Ortiz.

The group later drove towards Sabarona and discussed Gomez-Saladín’s fate since he had seen their faces and could identify them.  Eventually, the group went to a gas station and purchased gas.  Sometime thereafter, Delgado-Ortiz forced Gómez-Saladín to stop driving the car.  Delgado-Ortiz then drove the Matrix to an old abandoned prison in Guavate.  There, parked the car, and everyone got out.  Aponte-Aponte used her cell phone to illuminate the area. Delgado-Ortiz and Berriós-Cotto escorted Gómez-Saladín from the car and told him to kneel.  They doused him with gasoline and lit him on fire.  Gómez-Saladin began yelling and got up and started to run.  He stripped off his pants before tripping on a mound of garbage that was at the scene.  Delgado-Ortiz and Berríos-Cotto followed Gómez-Saladin and began hitting him with sticks and tubing they found in the area.  They beat Gómez-Saladín until he was barely breathing.  The four co-defendants then gathered the sticks and tubing used to beat Gómez-Saladín, placed them in the car, and left the prison in the Matrix. His partially decomposed body was found by authorities several days later where the defendants had left him.

Delgado-Ortiz then drove to another gas station and they purchased more gasoline in order to burn the Toyota Matrix. They then proceeded towards La Macanea Road.  There, they exited the car and Torres-Osorio pour gas over the seats and the dashboard.  He then set the car on fire.  The four co-defendants then left the scene on foot.  They stopped at a Shell Gas Station to buy refreshments.  They also unsuccessfully attempted to withdraw more money from Gómez-Saladín’s bank account.  The co-defendants left the area on foot and went to their respective homes.

Sentencing hearing was scheduled for April 7, 2015. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Meconiates and Senior Litigation Counsel Scott Anderson.

Ruben Delgado-Ortiz pled guilty on October 24, 2014; sentencing is scheduled for February 19, 2015.  He faces a sentence of 30 years.

 

Component(s): 
Updated April 14, 2015