NewsRegion C Palm Beach CountyWest Palm Beach

Actions

Suspects on trial after South Florida man killed after answering escort ad

Posted at 7:49 PM, Jan 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-30 10:02:57-05

Gustavo Cabral moved to South Florida with his wife and two kids. His wife told WPTV they moved here to avoid the violent crime in Brazil. But his decision to answer an escort ad on Backpage ended up leading to his death. 

Two men are charged with his murder. 

On Thursday, the defense painted Cabral as a strong MMA fighter who could have fought back when he was kidnaped. His wife said in Brazil they were taught not fight back when in danger. 

Christiane Rezende says the last four years of her life have been pretty rough.

"The first thing my son asked me is if his dad took the phone to do FaceTime with him, to the sky," she explained. "And I say no, he didn't. And he says mommy, we never going to see him again and I say no... we never going to see him again."

In December 2013, police said Cabral was shot to death. They say he responded to a Backpage ad to meet an escort at Motel 8 in Pompano Beach.

When he got there two men, Jefty Joseph and Ilmart Christophe kidnaped him and took him to a vacant home in Lake Worth where detectives say they later shot him to death. 

"Well it was Jefty and Ilmart they were both telling me to post that night," Koral Benshimon testified on Tuesday.

Benshimon posted the ad. Thursday, the defense questioned why she, Joseph, and Christophe chose Gustavo. She responded by saying he was the person who responded to the ad and showed up to the motel.

"I mean there was no plan at first until he came in," she said.

Three months ago, Benshimon was sentenced to 10 years in prison plus five years of probation after she pleaded guilty to kidnapping and robbery counts. 

In court Thursday, jurors watched the two-hour video of detectives interviewing Jospeh, who is charged with first degree murder with a firearm.

In the video, Joseph told detectives that he did not kill Cabral. 

Closing arguments are expected to begin Friday afternoon. If convicted, the state attorney's office will seek the death penalty. As for Christopher, his trial is expected to begin at a later date.

Editor's note:  Cabral's wife later said he was not an MMA fighter but an economist and worked in the financial market before becoming an entrepreneur in São Paulo.