Two men charged in the killing of a Canadian diplomat’s son have agreed to testify against his 15-year-old brother in exchange for the withdrawal of the murder charges they faced.
Anthony Rodriguez, 19, and Johann Ruiz-Perez, 21, have pleaded guilty to lesser, drug-related charges under an agreement that will see them take the stand in the trial of their co-accused Marc Wabafiyebazu.
Wabafiyebazu was arrested March 30 outside an apartment in which his 18-year-old brother Jean Wabafiyebazu and another man, Joshua Wright, 17, were shot dead.
He has pleaded not guilty to felony first-degree murder.
Police allege the younger sibling confessed that he and his brother had gone to rip off the dealer, but the armed robbery had gone sour.
While the prosecution does not allege Wabafiyebazu shot or even threatened anyone, Florida law allows for the felony murder charge if he was part of the armed robbery that resulted in the killings.
Surveillance video shows that he remained outside until he heard the deadly gun shots and ran inside to see what happened.
Still, a grand jury indicted him as an adult, meaning he could face life behind bars if convicted.
Wabafiyebazu — the son of Canada’s former consul general to Miami, Roxanne Dube — was refused bail in May and remains in custody pending trial, tentatively set for the end of the year.
Rodriguez, an alleged drug dealer, and Ruiz-Perez were initially charged with felony third-degree murder, a charge laid in a killing that was unintentional but occurred during a non-violent felony. However that charge has been dropped as a result of their deal with the prosecution.
Both will spend 364 days in county jail and take part in a boot camp program, followed by five years of probation.
“The defendant agrees to provide truthful testimony and co-operation in the investigation into the murder of Jean Wabafiyebazu and Joshua Wright and the prosecution of all parties who in any way participated in the murder of Jean Wabafiyebazu and Joshua Wright,” the agreement reads.
“The Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office agrees that no statements made by the defendant during the course of this co-operation will be used against him, except as outlined in this agreement, provided that he does not violate the terms of this agreement.”
Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
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