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Miguel RIOS





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robberies
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: August 27/September 19, 1992
Date of arrest: October 1992
Date of birth: ???
Victims profile: Jose Ortiz, 21 / Miguel Basilio
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on October 5, 1994. Sentenced to death on April 2, 1996

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

opinion J-103-1998 opinion J-86-2003

Miguel Rios was sentenced to death on April 2, 1996, for the shooting death of Miguel Basilio. On Sept. 19, 1992, Rios and his unidentified partner terrorized Basilio's wife, sister and four small children for more than two hours before shooting and killing Miguel in front of his family. This is the 2nd time Rios has been sentenced to death in Pennsylvania. Rios was sentenced to death on Oct. 5, 1994, for murdering 21-year-old Jose Ortiz.


Miguel Rios

On August 27, 1992 Miguel Rios rang the doorbell of a residence where Jose Ortiz lived with his girlfriend, Carmen Colon, their two-year old son, and Carmenís sister, Irma Colon.

When Irma Colon answered the door, she found Rios dressed in a Philadelphia Gas Works uniform and representing that he was there to check the gas meter.

After being let into the house, Rios took hold of Irma Colonís neck and demanded that she give him the key to admit an accomplice into the house. Rios and his accomplice proceeded to the bedroom in which Mr. Ortiz, Carmen Colon and their son were sleeping.

He threatened to kill Irma Colon unless Ortiz let him into the bedroom. Rios then demanded money, jewelry, and drugs. Rios forced Ortiz and Irma Colon to the floor, threatening to kill them if he did not find what he was seeking.

The accomplice proceeded to ransack the house. Rios beat Irma Colon in the head with his gun until she lost consciousness. Carmen Colon watched as Rios and his accomplice beat Ortiz and bound his hands and feet. Her eyes were closed when she heard a gunshot.

When she opened them, she saw Ortiz laying on the floor with a gunshot wound to the head. Thereafter, both Irma and Carmen Colon were able to identify Rios from a police photo array. After a warrant was issued, Rios was apprehended while hiding in the closet of a home in Lancaster and arrested.

On June 17, 1993 a jury convicted Rios of first-degree murder, robbery, unlawful restraint, aggravated assault, burglary, criminal conspiracy, and possession of an instrument of a crime.

At the penalty phase, the jury found three aggravating circumstances: the murder occurred in the perpetration of a felony (burglary); defendant knowingly created a grave risk of death to another; and defendant had a significant history of violent crime felony convictions.

The jury found two mitigating circumstances: defendant was under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance at the time of the crime; and the defendantís circumstances fit within the catch-all mitigating circumstance. As the mitigating circumstances were out-weighed by the aggravating circumstances, the jury sentenced Rios to death for the murder of Jose Ortiz.



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