Death penalty dropped against alleged shooter in escort ad killing


Prosecutors have abandoned their quest for a death sentence against the alleged triggerman in the 2013 murder of a 31-year-old man lured into a robbery after he answered an escort ad on Backpage.com.

The decision not to seek the death penalty against 24-year-old Ilmart Christophe in the shooting death of Gustavo Falsetti Cabral comes less than two months after another Palm Beach County jury took less than 15 minutes to reject a possible death sentence against Christophe’s alleged accomplice, Jefty Joseph.

In Joseph’s February trial, Christophe’s former girlfriend, Kroal Ben Shimon, told jurors she arranged to meet Cabral for sex at a Super 8 Motel in Pompano Beach after he responded to the ad titled “Belle Ayrab Barbie/Sexy Angeline Latina.” When he arrived, she said, Christophe and Joseph robbed him at gunpoint, kidnapped him and had Ben Shimon follow them in another car as they drove him to several ATM machines in an attempt to drain his bank account.

Cabral’s body was found in an abandoned home in the Indian Pines community of Lake Worth, near where both Christophe and Joseph lived. Both men were arrested almost immediately. Deputies spotted them in the area after someone reported the gunshots, and although Joseph surrendered immediately, Christophe was captured after a brief chase.

Although Assistant State Attorneys Aleathea McRoberts and Terri Skiles told jurors both men were equally guilty no matter who pulled the trigger, Joseph’s jury in their murder conviction against Joseph decided unanimously that he was not the one in possession of the gun when Cabral was killed — pointing by default to Christophe as the shooter.

Defense attorneys Scott Skier, Robert Gershman and Shaun Rosenberg had argued, among other things, that the husky Joseph was too heavy to fit through the narrow stairway that led to the abandoned attic where Cabral was murdered.

Ben Shimon, who said she didn’t know the men were going to kill Cabral and drove to Christophe’s home at his behest before the shooting, accepted a plea deal with prosecutors in exchange for her testimony and is now serving a 10-year sentence on a kidnapping charge. As part of the deal, prosecutors dropped the murder charges against her.

Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes sentence Joseph to three consecutive life terms in prison in February, after jurors opted to spare his life following an emotional sentencing hearing.

In Monday hearing on Christophe’s case, Kastrenakes reset his case for what is expected to be the final pretrial hearing on Oct. 10.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Sports & Recreation
Sports & Recreation

NORTHERN PALM BEACH COUNTY Gym Like This! of Riviera Beach concluded its Optional Season at the Florida State Championships. XCEL Silver’s Naomi Burton placed second on bars and third all-around, Level 6’s Ashlyn Jensen placed first on beam and Sophia Roberts tied for first on floor. Level 7’s Faith House placed first on vault and...
Police responding to report on naked man find him with crack, heroin

WEST PALM BEACH POLICE HOME BURGLARY A purse was stolen from a residence in the 2700 block of Poinsettia Avenue. Contents included a driver’s license, Social Security card and bus pass. During a break-in at a home in the 400 block of 29th Street, two men stole $106,250 worth of property, including Gucci and Hermes leather goods, Tiffany and Cartier...
The best and worst paint colors for every room
The best and worst paint colors for every room

Colors have a proven psychological effect on our moods. And the colors we choose for our homes have a proven influence on our overall quality of life. Using color psychology, we can create a home that relaxes, energizes and focuses us where and when we need it most. It just takes knowing which colors to use in which room — and which colors to...
Sports & Recreation
Sports & Recreation

The West Palm Beach Fishing Club will hold its 16th annual Palm Beach County KDW Classic at the Riviera Beach Marina Village June 1 and 2. Last year, almost 1,000 anglers and 200 boats competed in this family-friendly event for $34,000 in cash prizes and an additional $30,000 in raffle items. Fee: $225 per boat by May 18, $300 starting May 1, includes...
Put bee-friendly flowers anywhere with portable pollinator gardens
Put bee-friendly flowers anywhere with portable pollinator gardens

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — To bees, size doesn’t matter. They don’t care how much space a landscape may cover. These pollinators prefer to focus on flowers. And they will find them. On patios or decks, in window boxes or wine barrels, bees will come buzzing if they discover something they like in bloom. “When we talk about pollinators...
More Stories