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Lehigh teens sentenced to 40 years in prison for taxi driver murder

By Staff | Sep 13, 2019

Two Lehigh Acres teens have received lengthy prison terms for the shooting death of a taxi driver.

Angel Arellano, 15, and Epimenio Leal, 17, were sentenced Thursday to 40 years in prison followed by 10 years of probation by Circuit Court Judge Bruce Kyle.

Each had pleaded no contest to the charges of first degree murder and robbery with a firearm. The sentences carry a 25-year minimum mandatory requirement based upon Florida’s 10-20-Life law. Additionally, because they are juveniles, each are entitled to a court review of their sentences after serving 25 years as per Florida’s sentencing laws related to the sentencing of juveniles as adults. Sentencing occurred in Lee County Circuit Court.

“Arellano and Leal called for taxi to a remote road in Lehigh Acres on April 7, 2018,” a release from the State Attorney’s Office. 20th Judicial Circuit. “After luring the taxi driver to that location, both defendants approached the taxi and opened fire into the vehicle. The driver was killed. The victim’s wallet, phone and a metal box containing money were stolen. Thereafter the defendants fled the scene.”

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office investigated the crime. After a two-day investigation, Arellano and Leal, and a third co-defendant, Ricky Ligonde, 20, were arrested for the murder of the victim. Ligonde previously pleaded to second degree murder with a firearm and robbery with a firearm. He was sentenced 20 years in prison.

Assistant State Attorney Andreas Gardiner of the State Attorney’s Office Homicide Unit, and Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Justham prosecuted the cases.

Source: State Attorney’s Office