Miami Woman Sentenced to Life in Prison for Revenge Killing

When police responded to a 911 call made by an agitated North Miami woman whose husband was murdered while playing with the couple’s 20 month old son the previous month, they found the bullet riddled body of Ilam Nissim who had been shot numerous times by the 911 caller, Janepsy Mesa Carballo.

Carballo, 35, first called police emergency to report a battery, but called again a short time later telling the dispatcher that she shot an intruder.

When police arrived at the scene, she told them that she was in the process of transporting furniture out of her home located on NW 12 Avenue in North Miami, while packing to move. When she went back into the house to get more items she found Nissim suddenly appearing in a hallway. She went on to say that Nissim grabbed her by her blouse; ripping it, and demanded to know the whereabouts of a warehouse where her late husband stored his possessions. She explained to police that she then watched him turn his head and body in a threatening manner, leading her to believe that he was reaching for a gun. Believing her life to be in danger, she ran into a room of the house to retrieve a gun of her own and shot him six times. She went on to say that she feared for her safety and the welfare of her son, believing Nissim had intentions of harming them.

The autopsy revealed that the six gunshots to the back which ultimately killed Nissim were fired while he was either lying on the floor or at the very least in a position where he would have had to be “bent very far over”. No weapon was ever recovered other than the 38-caliber revolver used to shoot Nissim, but at the time police declined to detain Carballo, accepting as factual her plausible account of self-defense.

According to police, her husband, Orlando Mesa was in front of their house the previous month when two men pulled up in a white Toyota Corolla and emptied their guns in his direction as well as that of his young son. The bullets grazed the toddler and he sustained mostly superficial wounds to his arm and leg. But the elder Mesa was critically injured. While he was lying in the driveway clinging to life, the men returned and finished the job, leaving Mesa dead. A home surveillance video showed the men were dressed in black clothing, their hair each fashioned in dreadlocks. Those same security cameras were out of service on the day that Nissim was killed by Ms. Carballo.

Three days after her husband’s death, Carballo made an impassioned plea in a televised news interview asking the public for help finding her husband’s killers.

According to Carballo, Nissim was her husband’s business partner as well as being a personal friend and spent the entire day of her husband’s homicide at their home. But what type of business the two were actually engaged in is yet to be determined.

Carballo admitted that her husband was a drug dealer in addition to his regular day job as a mechanic. A short time before Mesa’s murder, cops removed two hefty plastic bags of marijuana from his possession in addition to sixteen-thousand dollars in cash. Mr. Mesa was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell but most of the money was given back to Carballo when she was able to confirm that the money was the result of lottery winnings.

But she always believed that Nissim was behind the murder as did the police who considered him a suspect in her husband’s death up until the time she ended his life. Carballo said that her husband gave Nissim $180,000 for a real estate venture, but the money later disappeared and was seemingly stolen.

During the course of their investigation police began to doubt Carballo’s original story of self-defense and arrested her in 2010, two years after the murder was committed. In 2011, despite prosecutors’ complaints she was freed on $850,000 bond and placed under house arrest while she awaited trial.

In 2012, Carballo’s lawyers filed a Stand Your Ground motion which was denied by a Miami Circuit Court Judge after the judge heard a recording chronicled by a confidential informant that was gathered during a federal narcotics probe in an unconnected drug charge at the pain management clinic where Carballo was an employee. The judge listened as Carballo described to the C.I. that the shooting was “an eye for an eye.” and went on to say that she wanted Nissim’s daughter “to grow up without a father”… just like her son would now have to. She also told the C.I. in the recording that she shot Nissim because she believed the police would never be able to arrest him.

In a statement explaining her decision to deny the Stand Your Ground motion the judge stated that “The inescapable conclusion is that the defendant lured the victim to the home and killed him… The taped conversation between the defendant and the disclosed confidential source is compelling, incapable of being ignored, downplayed or interpreted in any other manner but one of revenge.”

Once the stand your ground possibility was canned, the trial became a clash between the defense’s continued declaration of self-defense and the prosecutions charge that it was a revenge killing.

Before Nissim’s murder, even though she was now a prime suspect, police actually pressed Carballo to get close to the man she believed killed her husband and attempt to seek out information that may implicate him for the murder. So she nurtured a relationship with him, constantly calling and sending him text messages as well as visiting the home of his family. On the day of his murder phone records showed that she called him three times. So was she actually assisting police and afraid for her life or planning an execution?

When she purchased a gun from a Bass Pro Shop the clerk asked her what type she wanted to which she answered “one that won’t miss.”
In opening statements of her second-degree murder trial her attorney said “Janepsy Carballo committed no crimes.” Also during her trial, she testified on her own behalf trying to solidify her claim of self-defense by telling the jury that “In my mind, he was chasing me… His people, as he called it, were chasing me.”

But according to the prosecutor, reading from a transcript, on the day of his death she called him to come to her house to help her move expensive stereo equipment. The prosecutor told the jury that Carballo’s house alarm wasn’t armed, her front door was left open and the two dogs she owned, one of them a pit bull were locked up when Nissim arrived at the house signifying she apparently wasn’t too fearful of him and continued by saying that “She lured him to the house and she shot him six times in the back,” while her defense lawyer tried to exhibit her as a grieving widow, distraught that her husband had been murdered just one month prior to Nissim’s killing,

But the piece of evidence that became the overwhelming damning asset for the prosecution was the recording played for the jury that has previously been mentioned above.

The jury’s deliberations were paused briefly to tell the judge that they were deadlocked, but that was only due to the fact that eleven of them believed she committed first-degree murder with one jury member believing it was a case of murder in the second degree. The judge told them to keep trying until they were all able to agree.

About two hours later the jury reached a unanimous decision of first-degree murder. Moments after the findings of the jury the Miami-Dade Circuit Judge presiding over the case sentenced Carballo to the maximum term of life in prison. Her lawyers plan to appeal the conviction.

Michael B. Cohen Esq. is a criminal defense attorney with offices in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Florida. His law office operates throughout the tri-county area of Dade, Broward and Palm Beach in addition to all other counties throughout the State of Florida. He has previously worked for the State as an Assistant State Prosecutor and knows the ins and outs of how the prosecution will move forward in any criminal matter. His vast experience becomes a great asset on his clients’ behalf for all cases involving homicide or any other criminal allegation.

If you, a friend or family member is in need of a strong advocate to fight for your rights against a charge of murder or any other criminal matter contact Mr. Cohen to set up a consultation and find proper direction in the planning of a strong defense.

To view Mr. Cohen’s qualifications and understand what steps you should take if you’re arrested for murder or are charged with any other criminal allegation, click here.

Contact Information