Delray Beach girl, 16, ordered held in secure detention in murder of mom’s boyfriend

February 19th, 2010 by – A Delray Beach teenager accused of killing her mother’s boyfriend Wednesday briefly appeared in juvenile court Thursday afternoon.

A judge ordered Berenice Juarez, 16, held in secure detention at the Juvenile Assessment Center for up to 21 days. Prosecutors are expected to review her case during that time before deciding on whether Juarez will be charged as an adult.

Juarez is charged with first degree murder in the killing of 42-year-old Gilardo Ramos Paz, according to Delray Beach Police.

Paz’s body was found in the parking lot of the Linton Square shopping center at 1565 South Congress Avenue shortly before 7 a.m. Wednesday. The killing was the city’s first homicide of the year.

Juarez told investigators that she did not approve of Paz’s relationship with her mother, Edith Martinez, and that she had been planning his murder for over a week and a half, police said.

Martinez walked past a gauntlet to television cameras following the hearing, declining to respond to any questions about her daughter’s possible motivations.

Police say Juarez posed as her mother and sent Paz a text message Tuesday night asking him to meet her at the shopping center in the morning.

“Do you think you can meet me at the Winn Dixie Plaza at 6:40,” read a message in Spanish on the Paz’s cell phone. Paz attempted to call Martinez’s number, but no appears to have answered, according to a police affidavit. Moments later, he received another text in Spanish, “Are you able to go?”

When Paz arrived at the plaza, Juarez approached his vehicle and knocked on a window. Paz rolled down his window and Juarez stabbed him in the chest at least two times, police said. Juarez told police that there was no conversation between herself and Paz, and that she left to go to school after stabbing him.

She told investigators where to find the knife and it was recovered from a garbage can at the plaza, police said.

In an affidavit, police said that one of Martinez’s sons, Francisco, said Juarez had told him she was going to kill Paz. Francisco, a student at Atlantic High, told police he didn’t believe her and told no one. Francisco told police that he and Berenice had walked to the plaza to catch a bus to school, but Berenice did not get on the bus and remained at the plaza.

Martinez’s other son, Danny, said Juarez told him during lunch at Atlantic High that she had killed Paz, the affidavit states.

Asked by police why she killed Paz, Juarez “stated she did not like her mom with him,” according to the affidavit.

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