Two Juvenile Defendants Sentenced for Murder

On September 12, Angel Arellano, aged 15, and Epimenio Leal, aged 17, both of Lehigh Acres, were sentenced to 40 years in prison followed by 10 years of probation by Circuit Court Judge Bruce Kyle after each pled 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. 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 pled 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 our Homicide Unit, and Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Justham prosecuted the cases.

Samantha Syoen
Communications Director
State Attorney’s Office