By Ken Jackson
Victoria Rios, the then-teenager who police say lured a Poinciana man to the door on the night of his eventual 2013 murder, will be sentenced on Friday for her role in the crime.
Ninth Circuit Judge Jon B. Morgan set the sentencing for 3 p.m. The plan was for a sentence to be rendered on April 6, but a defense expert medical witness expected to testify was ill and unavailable.
Defense attorney Michael Nichola also said he would likely be reading impact statements from Rios’ family and other supporters at that time.
The parents, maternal grandfather and other family members of victim Eric Roopnarine, present for almost every hearing in the nearly five-year-old case, showed audible disgust that the case would extend another week, as some come from New York for each one.
“We’ve waited so long already for these trials to be over,” said Pooran Roopnarine, the victim’s father, who wrote an impassioned victim impact statement.
It, along with one from Eric’s mother, Sarita, was read by Assistant State Attorney Gabrielle Sanders.
The state charged Rios, 21, with first-degree murder and armed burglary. A jury found her guilty on both charges on April 26, 2017, after a different jury could not come to a unanimous verdict in June 2016.
Roopnarine, 23, was killed late on July 3, 2013. Police say Rios had been messaging him earlier in the evening with the prospect of committing an act of prostitution while riding from Kissimmee as Juan Muriel drove Konrad Schafer’s father’s SUV to his home. Schafer and David Damus were riding along.
According to prosecutors, Rios knocked on Roopnarine’s door, and when he answered, Schafer and Damus rushed in and demanded money, armed with a Hi-Point Carbine-action rifle.
Friday, a pair of psychologists testified that Rios’ has an IQ of 75, borderline for intellectual disability, suffered from depression and anxiety, was a textbook case of childhood trauma. which made her vulnerable to manipulation, and former peers had attempted to sexually exploit her for money.
Lothar Schafer, Konrad’s father, bought Konrad the gun in late June 2013. The son then used it to shoot into homes and cars over the next two weeks, keeping much of Osceola County on edge, and reportedly shoot and kill David Guerrero, 17, on June 26. Lothar Schafer served six months in jail for making a weapon available to a minor for use in a felony.
On Jan. 15, 2016, Konrad Schafer pled guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, and on April 15 was sentenced to consecutive 40-year prison terms. Because he was a juvenile at the time of the killings, his case will be reviewed after 25 years.
In 2015, Damus was convicted of first-degree murder and sentence to life in prison. Muriel, in a plea agreement, accepted a 10-year prison sentence and five years of probation in exchange for his testimony against his co-defendants.