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Death penalty not pursued for Felix Verdejo, boxer charged with murder of pregnant girlfriend

Last year, Puerto Rican professional boxer Felix Verdejo made headlines for his link in the kidnapping and murder of Keishla Marlen Rodriguez Ortiz a 27-year-old woman who was having a relationship with the pugilist for years. Verdejo has been behind the bars since 2nd May 2021 and following a recent month-long discussion on whether capital punishment should be pursued against the boxer, a US Attorney has ruled out death penalty for Verdejo.

Felix Verdejo will face up to 99 years in prison if found guilty

On 30th April last year, Félix Verdejo (27-2, 17KOs) was identified by the federal authorities as the prime suspect behind the disappearance of Rodriguez Ortiz. Then on 2nd May, just hours after the dead body of the 27-year-old woman was found by the police in a lagoon in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, and was identified by dental records, Verdejo turned himself over to the law enforcement.

Even though Verdejo is still at the federal prison in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico and will remain there until his next hearing on 18th March, the Olympian will not be facing any capital punishment, as notified by W. Stephen Muldrow, lead counsel for the U.S. Attorney via an official letter to the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico.

“The United States of American hereby notifies the Court that it will not seek the death penalty in this case against Félix Verdejo-Sánchez and Luis Antonio Cádiz-Martínez,” stated the official letter. [H/T]

Despite the absence of the death penalty, Verdejo will face up to 99 years in prison if he is found guilty on the multiple charges put against him- kidnapping resulting in death, carjacking resulting in death, and killing of an unborn child.

As claimed by Rodriguez’s family, Verdejo was involved in a lengthy affair with the woman, who was one month into pregnancy. The complaint further states that Verdejo was made aware of Rodriguez’s pregnancy and the boxer repeatedly pushed the woman to get an abortion.

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Phone records showed Rodriguez was contacted by her boyfriend two days before she was last seen driving her 2016 Kia Forte, to meet near her residence. After entering Verdejo’s black Dodge Durango SUV, Rodriguez was punched in the face before being drugged and thrown from the bridge with assistance from the first-hand witness.

Before turning professional in 2012, Verdejo represented Puerto Rico at the 2012 Rio Olympics where he lost to Vasyl Lomachenko 14-9 in the quarterfinals. A Panamerican Youth Champion, Verdejo won the WBO Latino lightweight belt in 2015 and marked six consecutive title defenses. He was last seen in action contesting for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental lightweight title in December 2020 when he lost to Masayoshi Nakatani via 9th round TKO.


  • Puerto Rican boxer Felix Verdejo will not face capital punishment for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend
  • Verdejo will face up to 99 years in prison if found guilty of multiple charges
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