Death penalty no longer sought for alleged killer in murder-for-hire plot

Two suspects who were charged in a botched murder-for-hire plot were back in Osceola County court Monday.

The state of Florida said it would no longer seek the death penalty for at least one of the three defendants, according to court documents.  

Investigators say the incident that occurred last January started with a love triangle and ended with the murder of an innocent woman.

Glorianmarie Quinones Montes and Alexis Ramons-Rivera were reportedly hired by 35-year-old Ishnar Lopez-Ramos to kill a woman who was in a relationship with another man. Lopez-Ramos was allegedly obsessed with that man.

However, deputies say that the hired pair allegedly mistook Janice Zengotita-Torres for that rival woman and killed her instead – even after they realized it was the wrong person.

The defendants are being charged with first-degree murder, along with other counts including burglary, robbery, kidnapping and carjacking.

At the latest status hearing on Monday however, state attorneys declared they would not seek the death penalty for Montes, who allegedly assisted her boyfriend, Ramons-Rivera, with the murder.

The group was said to have stalked Zengotita-Torres after she left work at a Kissimmee Ross store and then followed her home, where they kidnapped her.

Zengotita-Torres’ body was found in a wooded area of a road in Ormond Beach a couple days after she disappeared.

Zengotita-Torres had just moved to Osceola County from Puerto Rico a year ago and lived with her mother, husband and son.

Deputies said that all three suspects confessed to the murder shortly after they were taken into custody.

The defendants first appeared in court over a year ago.  

A jury trial date was set for the defendants in April, but they were all either continued (postponed) or cancelled.

Since June, a series of status hearings have been held to show that the state and defense attorneys are adequately preparing for trial.

Also on Monday, Lopez-Ramos’s request for new legal representation was denied. She had claimed her attorney was unfit to represent her.