State Attorney Ayala sends murder-for-hire case to death penalty review board

Video Osceola County murder for hire case to head for review by death penalty panel

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Three suspects accused of kidnapping and killing an Osceola County woman have been indicted on first-degree murder charges, according to the Osceola County Clerk of Courts.

On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted Alexis Ramos-Rivera, 22, Ishnar Lopez-Ramos, 35, and GlorianMarie Quinones Montes, 22, in the death of Janice Marie Zengotita-Torres.

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They initially faced second-degree murder charges.

Osceola County deputies said Lopez hired Ramos-Rivera and Montes to kill a romantic rival; however, the suspects kidnapped Zengotita-Torres and once they realized she was the wrong woman, they killed her anyway, investigators said. The suspects bound Zengotita-Torres and suffocated her with garbage bags, deputies said.

The first-degree indictments start the process toward the death penalty, but a death penalty panel will have to agree unanimously to seek the death penalty in the cases.

“As a result of the indictment on first-degree murder, that does make it eligible for the death penalty. So the case now has been sent to the death penalty review panel. They will review it and we will update you when there is a finding,” Orange-Osceola County State Attorney Aramis Ayala said.

The review board was formed after Ayala announced she would never seek the death penalty while in office. The Florida Supreme Court determined the blanket decision was illegal, so the board was put together.

The three have also been charged with kidnapping with intent to inflict bodily harm, carjacking and robbery.

Trial dates for the three suspects have not been set.