Hispanic Man Pleads Guilty to Killing Two Office Colleagues

Hispanic man pleads guilty to murder, kills 2 office employees. Hispanic Rojas made it for the most bizarre reason. A surprising confession and admission of guilt changed the course of the legal process against José Rojas. He is accused of killing his boss, Frances C. Venezia, and his co-worker, Robert James, using office objects. After his unexpected intervention, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Miguel de la O warned the defendant that “the outcome of the penalty phase could be the death penalty.” He asked if he understood what he was facing, as the information technology specialist had pleaded innocent in the last 10 years.

Rojas has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping, and a single count of attempted armed robbery and credit card fraud. Those working on his case were expecting a long trial, but everything changed in his last hearing, and by January 2024, he could receive a definitive sentence that would lead him to jail for life or to suffer the death penalty.

Investigations against Rojas, who has already pleaded guilty, began in 2012. The Miami-Dade Police Department identified him as the prime suspect in the murder of the owner of Professional Public Appraisers and one of her employees. The bodies were found on April 27, 2012, inside suite 205-B, where the appraiser’s offices were located. Both victims were tied with duct tape around their hands and feet, covering their lips. Forensic evidence confirmed that they had suffered multiple lacerations and traumatic blunt force injuries.

The first to arrive at the crime scene were Coral Gables Police Department officers, who arrested several suspects, including Rojas. The case was transferred to the Miami-Dade Police Homicide Office, where, after 17 continuous hours of interrogation, the employee signed an affidavit confessing his involvement. Rojas allegedly planned the crime after overhearing Frances C. Venezia’s phone conversation with the bank, alerting about Rojas’ inappropriate use of the company’s credit cards for $3,500 in gift cards and merchandise, detailed the police in their official report.

48 hours later, Rojas stopped at a store on his way to the office building to pick up the office items he would use at the time of the crime. According to his arrest affidavit, he arrived at the building, covered his face with a hood, waited for Venezia and James to arrive, then subdued them. He forced his boss to sign a check from her checking account, which is unknown if it was cashed. Investigations specify that the Hispanic man used a variety of office items, including a mop handle and a paper cutter, to take their lives. The IT specialist did not have time to escape, as when he decided to leave the building, the area was already surrounded. Hours before his last hearing, the accused admitted guilt and wrote a letter to the judge pleading for the death penalty. He argued that he had already lost everything valuable in his life: his two children, his house, his wife, who died of cancer in his absence.

The defendant’s request seems to be on track. This would go against Venezia’s children’s will, who see the death penalty as a reward for Rojas, considering that his greatest punishment is to remember every day that he cruelly took away their mother’s life and destroyed it.