• The San Juan Daily Star

Jensen Medina found guilty of the murder of Arellys Mercado Ríos

Jensen Medina Cardona was found guilty Thursday of the murder of Arellys Mercado Ríos at a marina in Fajardo in a case that had gripped Puerto Rico for over two years.

By The Star Staff

Fajardo Superior Court Judge Gema González Rodríguez on Thursday found Jensen Medina Cardona guilty of the first-degree murder of Arellys Mercado Ríos that occurred in August 2019 at the Villa Marina boat storage in Fajardo.

González Rodríguez also found Medina Cardona guilty of two weapons violations.

Medina Cardona, who was wearing a face mask, listened quietly to the judge’s ruling. Outside the courtroom, the public cheered upon hearing about the guilty verdict. Nitza Ríos, the victim’s mother, said she never lost faith that Medina Cardona would be found guilty. The woman kept a diary of the entire saga related to her daughter’s killing.

Medina Cardona will be sentenced on Jan. 11, 2022 in the Fajardo court and will remain in jail until then.

Prior to the judge’s ruling, defense lawyers Jorge Gordon Menéndez, Orlando Cameron Gordon and Jorge Gordon Pujol requested a new trial for their client.

In Gordon Menéndez’s closing arguments, he said: “after evaluating what we have raised, in terms of the admitted evidence and the rigged identification that has been made of our client, honorable judge, the evidence should be suppressed” according to the Supreme Court precedent in Pueblo versus Hernández Flores, in which the late Supreme Court Justice José Trías Monge said that if evidence that has been illegally obtained arises in the trial, the defense can request its suppression.

“The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Supreme Court have clearly established that identification in court by witnesses is the most suggestive and least reliable identification that can be found in a trial,” the defense attorney said. “In view of this, honorable judge, I beg that once you have analyzed the evidence presented by the prosecutor and the evidence presented by the defense, find Mr. Jensen Medina Cardona not guilty of the crimes as the Prosecutor has presented them to you. Judge, our case has been submitted for a verdict.”

Yamil Juarbe, the prosecutor in the case, asked in his closing arguments that based on the irrefutable evidence presented by the Prosecutor’s Office, Medina Cardona should be found guilty of the first degree murder of Arellys Mercado Ríos.

“Guilty of murder in the first degree. Guilty of carrying an illegal weapon without having a license and also guilty of aiming and viciously shooting Arellys Mercado Ríos,” Juarbe said. “Those are my words, Madam Judge, and with that I will be submitting my final report.”

Medina Cardona was found guilty two years, two months and 10 days after the crime occurred. The case was marked by a back and forth between police and legal proceedings.

Medina Cardona faced one count of murder in the first degree and two counts of violation of the Weapons Law.

The murder of Mercado Ríos occurred during a confused discussion over a cell phone on the night of Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019 at around 9:43 p.m. in the Villa Marina Yacht Harbor dock area, on Villa Marina Boulevard in Fajardo.

The 34-year-old victim, who worked as a sales manager for a company that owns several funeral homes, died on the spot when she was shot in the neck at the Villa Marina facilities.

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