Posted on 11/03/2023
By: Sean Crose
Crime doesn’t pay. This has proven to be especially true in the case of former professional boxer Felix Verdejo. On Friday in Puerto Rico, the former Olympian was sentenced to two life sentences – one for each of the two lives he snuffed out in April of 2021. One of the victims was girlfriend Keishla Rodriguez. The other life belonged to her unborn child. “A federal judge,” reports the Associated Press, “sentenced Verdejo following emotional speeches by the family of Keishla Rodríguez.” Verdejo, who was found guilty in July, now faces the reality that the rest of his life will be spent incarcerated.
The circumstances surrounding the death of Rodriguez and her unborn child were chilling. As Boxing Insider reported at the time, “the prosecution alleged that Verdejo and Cadiz-Martinez (an accomplice who went on to become a prosecution witness) led Ortiz (Rodriguez) into a vehicle on April 30th. Verdejo then punched her and injected the pregnant woman with a drug. Having bound Ortiz with wire and having tied her to at least one brick, both men drove out to a bridge, where Verdejo subsequently threw Ortiz into the water. The former Olympian then reportedly fired a gun at Ortiz, though the cause of death for Ortiz was drowning.” The reported reason for the murder was that Verdejo wanted his girlfriend to have an abortion.
“This sentence,” stated Puerto Rico Police Commissioner Antonio López on Friday, “should serve as a lesson for others…it doesn’t matter how much fame, money or power you think you have. If you break the law, you will have to respond.” Although Verdejo escaped the death penalty, he will now do time for not only the murder of his girlfriend, but for the murder of the unborn child, as well (killing an unborn child can bring about such sentences in Puerto Rico.
A well known lightweight contender during his career, Vederjo’s last fight had occurred roughly four months before the murder of Rpdriguez and her child. He was stopped by Masayoshi Nakatani that night, walking out of the ring with a record of 17 wins against 2 losses. “Make no mistake about it,” Boxing Insider wrote of Valejo in 2015, “the kid from San Juan has star power. He’s got skill, wrecking ball shots and a first rate ability to charm. Yup, Verdejo is a likeable sort, which – let’s face it – separates him a bit from the sometimes dour (and fellow Puerto Rican) legend Miguel Cotto. Indeed, there might be a lot worth seeing in this lightweight with the easy smile.”
Impressions can be deceiving things.