Felix Verdejo will remain in prison at least two more months while waiting on a decision as to whether the death penalty will be on the table for his current trial.

The latest status conference hearing produced the same results from the preceding session three months ago, with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico asking for more time to review all matters before reaching a decision in pursuing as a capital punishment case. The U.S. Attorney’s office believes another 60 days is warranted to provide the court with sufficient updates and a final decision in how to proceed with its case against Verdejo and alleged accomplice Luis Antonio Cadiz-Martinez.

“Capital decision is pending before the Attorney General,” Jonathan Gottfried, lead prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney informed the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico (USDCPR) during Friday’s hearing. “I wish I could provide the court with a specific date as we have one.

“We are producing another round of discovery to both sets out counsel next week. What the government would propose is another status conference within 60 days. The government is cautiously optimistic of further clarity by that time as to the next steps in the case.”

District Court Judge Pedro A. Delgado-Hernandez set the next court hearing for December 17th at 9:30 a.m. local time, which was mutually agreed to by the legal teams for Verdejo and Cadiz-Martinez agreed.

Verdejo—who represented Puerto Rico in the 2012 London Olympics—will remain in federal prison in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. The San Juan-based boxer current stands trial on one count each of carjacking resulting in death, kidnapping resulting in death and killing of an unborn child in the abduction and murder of Keishla Marlen Rodriguez, with whom he had a years-long love affair.

A guilty verdict returned on any of the three charges will carry the maximum punishment of the death penalty, should the Justice Department choose to pursue. Verdejo also faces one count of discharging a firearm during and in relation to a violent crime. The offense carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, though only in conjunction with a guilty verdict in any of the aforementioned charges.

Should the U.S. Attorney’s office not pursue the matter as a capital punishment, Verdejo would then face a maximum of 99 years in prison if found guilty on any of the charges, since Puerto Rico does not have the death penalty for cases not tried under federal law.  

Verdejo is represented by defense attorneys Laura Maldonado and Jose Irizarry and capital punishment expert David Ruhnke, all three of whom were present for Friday’s hearing. Cadiz-Martinez was represented by capital punishment expert Gary Proctor and lead attorney Jose Aguayo. Both legal teams agreed to an additional 60-day period to finalize evidence.

Verdejo has remained in prison since May 2, when he surrendered to authorities following a three-day search for Rodriguez who was first reported missing by family members on April 29. A rescue mission was changed to a recovery mission once preliminary evidence suggested she was no longer alive. Those fears were realized on May 1, when she was pulled from Laguna San Jose in Carolina, Puerto Rico.

A detailed investigation report—aided by what reports indicate as a cooperating witness with first-hand knowledge of the case—revealed that Verdejo and Cádiz-Martinez both intentionally killed Rodriguez and “committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner in that it involved serious physical abuse to the victim.”

A shrine remains in place along the bridge in memory of Rodriguez.

Verdejo (27-2, 17KOs) has not fought since a ninth-round knockout loss to Japan’s Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1-1, 13KOs) last December 12 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

A win would have placed the 28-year-old Verdejo on a path to next face lineal lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12KOs). He was well on his way to victory, twice flooring Nakatani before suffering two knockdowns in the fateful ninth round of their 2020 Fight of the Year entrant.

Verdejo will have been out of the ring for one full year by the time of his next hearing. He remains under contract with Top Rank for legal reasons pending the outcome of his trial, although his boxing career is all but through.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox