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Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Juvenile (17) - Try to disguise the slaying by mutilating the body with acid
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: June 23, 2000
Date of arrest: July 14, 2000
Date of birth: January 18, 1983
Victim profile: Isabelle Pedroza, 50 (her mother)
Method of murder: Strangulation with an electrical cord
Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, USA
Status: Pleaded guilty. Sentenced to 40 years in prison on December 20, 2002
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Teen Sentenced In Mom's Death

By Jon Burstein -

December 21, 2002

The teenage girl and her boyfriend each yanked on an end of the electrical extension cord, using it to strangle the girl's mother so the young couple could remain together.

They then poured acid over Isabelle Pedroza's body, dumped her mutilated corpse in the woods and went to dinner at a Denny's Restaurant. A few days later, Linda Pedroza, 17, got her boyfriend's name tattooed on her chest to show her devotion.

A crying Linda Pedroza, now 19, stood alone Friday afternoon in a Palm Beach County courtroom as she admitted the details of her mother's murder. With her former boyfriend, Antoine Wright, willing to provide testimony that could help put her on Death Row, Linda Pedroza pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge.

She agreed to a 40-year prison sentence. With good behavior, the earliest she could be released is when she is 51 years old.

Linda Pedroza offered no apologies Friday, calmly answering most of Palm Beach County Circuit Judge John Hoy's questions with one-word answers. She broke down in tears though when Hoy asked her if she and Wright murdered her mother. After letting the question hang about 30 seconds, she quietly answered "yes."

Prosecutors cut a deal with Wright, 26, in May with him agreeing to testify against Linda Pedroza in exchange for a 20-year prison sentence on a second-degree murder charge. The State Attorney's Office previously had sought the death penalty against him, too.

Once his plea agreement was in place, Wright told authorities the couple decided to kill Isabelle Pedroza so they could elope. When Isabelle Pedroza, 50, came home from work on June 23, 2000, Wright hit her in the head with a frying pan, and then the couple strangled her.

They left the mother's body in an acid-filled bathtub and when it didn't dissolve like they thought it would, they dumped the corpse in the woods of The Acreage.

His statement largely echoed a confession that Linda Pedroza had given authorities 11 days after surveyors found her mother's body on the Fourth of July. Linda Pedroza had reported her mother missing three days after the murder.

She told Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office detectives that her mother had wanted her to break up with Wright after catching the couple in bed together. Neighbors said Wright moved into the Pedrozas' Palm Beach Gardens home the day after Isabelle Pedroza disappeared.

Miguel Pedroza, Linda Pedroza's father, was in jail facing domestic violence charges when his wife was killed. He said Friday that he blamed himself for his wife's death because he wasn't a good father.

"These are consequences of the lifestyle I led," he said.

Miguel Pedroza told detectives investigating his wife's death that he was an alcoholic and he had smoked marijuana with his daughter and Wright, according to police reports.

Friday's plea deal was the same one that prosecutors had been offering to Linda Pedroza on and off the past two years. In the previous offers though, Linda Pedroza would have had to testify against Wright. Once Wright took his plea deal, prosecutors withdrew their offer until a few weeks ago.

Ann Perry, Linda Pedroza's attorney, said she was disappointed her client will spend twice as long in prison as Wright.

"She is certainly remorseful for what happened and ever getting in contact with Antoine," Perry said.

Assistant State Attorney Shirley Deluna said she has no qualms with Linda Pedroza receiving the longer prison sentence. Linda Pedroza was the one who gave the go-ahead to the murder, calling Wright that day to tell him it was time to kill her mother.

"[Isabelle] was her mother," she said. "His mother is still alive. He indicated he wouldn't hurt a hair on [his mother's] head."


Ex-boyfriend To Testify Against Woman In Killing

By Jon Burstein -

May 17, 2002

Antoine Wright admits he once loved his teenage girlfriend enough that they killed the only obstacle to their relationship: her mother.

But on Thursday, he decided to protect his life by agreeing to put his former girlfriend's future at risk.

Wright, 25, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and agreed to testify against ex-girlfriend Linda Pedrosa for the June 2000 killing of her mother, Isabelle. Linda Pedrosa, 19, could face the death penalty if a Palm Beach County jury convicts her of first-degree murder.

If prosecutors think Wright has testified truthfully at her trial and sentencing hearing, he'll get a 20-year prison sentence. If he lies or refuses to testify, the plea deal calls for a life sentence.

Before he took the deal, prosecutors were seeking the death penalty for Wright.

Assistant State Attorney Shirley Deluna told Circuit Judge John Hoy that Wright was offered a deal because the case against him wasn't as good as the one against Pedrosa. In addition, Pedrosa had rejected a deal offered to her, Deluna said.

As Wright agreed to testify against her, Pedrosa watched from across the courtroom. She showed little emotion.

Wright offered a brief apology to both his and her families.

Robert Gershman, Wright's attorney, said Wright gave a full statement to prosecutors in the past week, detailing how the couple murdered Isabelle Pedrosa, 50.

Wright said the couple decided to kill her so they could elope. When Isabelle Pedrosa came home from work June 23, authorities said Wright hit her in the head with a frying pan, then he and Linda Pedrosa choked the woman with electrical cords.

They then dumped Isabelle Pedrosa's body in a bathtub and poured acid on her, Gershman said. Wright told authorities that they later tossed the body in the woods of The Acreage.

Gershman said Wright continued to love Linda Pedrosa after the two were arrested and put behind bars. But "the petals started falling off the rose" during court hearings in which Linda Pedrosa made a negative comment to Wright, according to Gershman.


Suspect's Letters Detail Alibi Plot

By Nicole Sterghos Brochu -

October 19, 2000

Professing his undying love for her, Antoine Wright begged his girlfriend to help him beat murder charges against them and mapped out a plan for them to do it.

Wright, in a jailhouse letter to Linda Pedrosa, said that the key was for her to change a story implicating him in her mother's murder. He wrote that she also needed to adopt an alibi he had concocted for them, according to documents released Wednesday.

"As long as you keep the same story you have now, I can't help you, and I'm not going to allow you to lay down," Wright wrote in a Sept. 11 letter. "If you change your story, believe it or not, we both can go home."

Pedrosa, a 17-year-old Palm Beach Gardens resident, had told detectives that love led her to help Wright kill her mother on June 25 and mutilate her body to try to conceal the crime.

Wright, 23, surprised Isabelle Pedrosa, 50, and hit her in the head with a frying pan when she returned home from work. He then strangled her with an extension cord, her daughter told detectives. Pedrosa had objected to her daughter's relationship with Wright because he is black.

Wright and his girlfriend then soaked her mother's body in muriatic acid to disguise the corpse. When that failed, they dumped her body in a wooded area in The Acreage and dropped her car at the airport, telling police she left town in a huff after a fight with her daughter.

Surveyors found the decomposed body on July 4.

Documents released Wednesday show that Wright and Linda Pedrosa used some of the $8,000 they stole from the trunk of her mother's car to get tattoos at a West Palm Beach parlor.

Pedrosa and Wright are being held without bail at the Palm Beach County Jail on first-degree murder charges.

In his letters, Wright tells Pedrosa to try to get her confession tossed out, saying he has a friend that will say the two were with him the entire day of the murder.

"I will kill myself to be there with you," he wrote to Pedrosa. "If I have to kill my whole family just to prove my love to you, I will do it."

In her own letters, Pedrosa implores Wright to repent and find God. But in an earlier letter to another friend, she reveals some bitterness toward him.

"Yesterday, I heard that Antoine might be getting out [of jail]. That's [messed] up," she wrote on Aug. 24. "I hope it ain't true because they letting the wrong person out. I hope you believe me, I SWEAR ON MY LIFE, I didn't do it! I'll go crazy if they let [him] go. Someone has to do justice."

She goes on to write about her "precious mother," saying she prays to her every night.


Teen: Love Led To Mom's Death

By Nicole Sterghos -

September 12, 2000

It was love that led a 17-year-old Palm Beach Gardens girl to help her boyfriend kill her mother and try to disguise the slaying by mutilating the body with acid, she told detectives.

In documents released Monday, Linda Pedrosa said her mother, Isabelle Pedrosa, adored her boyfriend -- until the day she caught the couple naked. That's when her mother "developed a really big hate" for Antoine Wright, 23, and began making racist comments about him.

Wright is black. The Pedrosas are white.

Unwilling to break up as Isabelle Pedrosa wanted, Wright and his girlfriend began hatching a plot to kill her, according to Linda Pedrosa's statement.

At first they thought about poisoning her, she said.

Then, Linda Pedrosa stole $100 of her mother's money to buy bullets. But the ammunition was too big for the gun Wright borrowed from a friend, so the couple devised a new scheme based on a horror story Pedrosa's mother always told her.

Pedrosa told detectives that a relative was killed years ago by a husband who got the woman pregnant and whisked her off to Tennessee. Her mother always said that the husband doused the body in acid to hide the crime.

On July 4, the decomposed corpse of Isabelle Pedrosa, 50, was found by surveyors in The Acreage. Her head, shoulders and upper body were devoid of flesh.

In an interview with detectives, Linda Pedrosa said Wright surprised her mother when she got home from work one day, hitting her in the head so hard with a frying pan that the handle broke. Wright then strangled Isabelle Pedrosa with an extension cord, and the couple dunked her body in an acid-filled bathtub.

They then dumped her body in the woods and dropped her car at the Palm Beach International Airport, telling authorities that the mother had gotten so angry about the couple's relationship that she was moving to Texas.

After the killing, the two had dinner at a Denny's restaurant in Miami and used $8,000 stolen from the trunk of Isabelle Pedrosa's car to buy a new vehicle and some clothes, the documents said. Linda Pedrosa later paid for her and a friend to have their navels pierced, and witnesses said they lived as if nothing happened.

Linda Pedrosa said her only goal was to be with the man she loved.

"I really love him. I still love him right now. I swear I do," she told detectives. "That's why I did it. That's why I let him do it."

If convicted of first-degree murder and grand theft, Pedrosa and Wright face the death penalty.


Clues Pointed Out Woman Was Slain

July 18, 2000

When sheriff's detectives found the decomposed body of a Palm Beach Gardens woman in a wooded area earlier this month, they immediately suspected it was a murder, court documents state.

That's because under the neck of Isabelle Pedrosa, 50, they found part of an electrical cord, records state.

On July 6, two days after Pedrosa's body was found, detectives searched her home looking for "any instruments that could be used to cut wire or wire similar to that found under the victim's neck."

Investigators seized three cutting tools from the home as well as some of Pedrosa's personal documents. Nine days later, Pedrosa's 17-year-old daughter and her boyfriend were charged in connection with her death.

Linda Pedrosa stood by as Antoine Wright, 23, struck her mother with a frying pan and strangled her with an electrical cord, the Sheriff's Office said. The two then dumped the body, reports show.


Neighbors: Teen Behaved As Usual

By Marian Dozier -

July 17, 2000

She was the girl next door: a friendly, hard-working teen who kept her front lawn "immaculate," according to one neighbor.

Not the type you could ever imagine being charged with murdering her mother.

But on Sunday morning, Linda Pedrosa, 17, and her boyfriend, Antoine Wright, 23, stood before a judge on charges of first-degree murder. Both are being held without bond: Pedrosa at Palm Beach County's juvenile detention center and her boyfriend at the County Jail.

Police say the couple beat and strangled Isabelle Pedrosa at her home and then tried to destroy the body by dumping acid on it in the family bathtub. After that failed, they dumped her body on a rural roadside in The Acreage, north of Royal Palm Beach.

The badly decomposed corpse was found July 4. Linda Pedrosa had reported her mother missing on June 27, telling police the two had fought about her boyfriend and that the mother had traveled to Texas.

Neighbors were shocked Sunday by the allegations, even as they noticed that Linda Pedrosa was changing. The girl next door was becoming a rebel, they said.

"I watched her grow up and change," said Audrey Edmondson, a neighbor who said she became good friends with Isabelle Pedrosa after moving into the duplex next door in the Palm Beach Gardens neighborhood on Brady Lane.

"She became this really wild teenager, which surprised me because it was my idea that she was a perfect kid."

But a combination of a too-strict mother who worked long hours, an abusive and allegedly alcoholic father, and too much time on her hands created the girl who police said showed no emotion when questioned during her mother's absence.

Both Linda Pedrosa and Wright confessed to the murder and are being held without bond, a Sheriff's Office spokesman said. They allegedly told investigators that they planned the murder.

Police suggest the motive for the killing was either the $8,000 they took that Isabelle Pedrosa had sacked away in the house, or the fact the mother didn't like Wright. He said in his statement to police that Isabelle Pedrosa hadn't liked him since she caught him in bed with her daughter, according to an arrest affidavit.

A day after Pedrosa disappeared, Wright moved into the family's home, said neighbors and friends of the young couple. They lived as if nothing had happened, going to Burger King, having parties, driving Isabelle Pedrosa's 1996 Kia Sephia.

They got tattoos -- she had "Pop," Wright's nickname, tattooed on her arm. He put "Linda" on his chest. Wright even showed up with a new car with gold rims.

"To me, they were acting like they didn't have a care in the world," said Allison Mulkey, who lives across Brady Lane. "They had people over there, I'd see her hugging the guy out front. It's just too much."

All of this would have been way too much for Isabelle Pedrosa, said Edmondson. Pedrosa was sick with worry over her daughter, who had established a pattern over the last few years of using drugs, running away and having boys in the house while her parents weren't home, she said. This from a daughter who for years had been her mother's helper, cooking, cleaning, taking care of family pets and working in the yard.

"For the last two years, you never saw her smile," Edmondson said of Isabelle Pedrosa. "She looked like a woman who had the world on her shoulders."

Isabelle Pedrosa, who was self-employed and worked in Lake Worth, was so concerned about her daughter's behavior that she pulled her out of Duncan Middle School and enrolled her in a private school, Edmondson said. And after catching Linda at home with boys and drugs, she went even further and tried to home-school her. Sometimes Isabelle Pedrosa would even take the girl to work with her, Edmondson said.

Mother and daughter argued constantly, and police were often called to the home, neighbors said. Miguel Pedrosa, Linda's father, was arrested May 29 on charges of domestic battery against Linda and was in custody at the time of his wife's disappearance. He could not be reached Sunday for comment.

"[Isabelle] was too strict," Edmondson said. "She literally tried to keep that kid prisoner, and I thought, `One day, she's going to push that kid over the edge.' But I never dreamed it would come to this."

"I told her, `Isabelle, she's going to do what she wants to do.'"

The daughter told friends that she was angry with her mother because she wouldn't let "Antoine and her be together," said Lauren Lanning, 17, a Palm Beach Gardens friend.

"All last week they had parties, and everyone knew, everybody had heard what they did; they bragged about it," said Lanning.

A woman who identified herself as Wright's mother declined to speak with reporters Sunday at Wright's Riviera Beach duplex.

"I don't have anything to do with what my son did," she yelled to a reporter. "I'd just appreciate it if y'all stay from around my house."


Girl, 17, Charged In Mom's Slaying

By Nancy L. Othm-sn -

July 16, 2000

A Palm Beach Gardens teenager who reported her mother missing last month was charged with murder Saturday, accused of standing by as her boyfriend struck her mother with a frying pan and strangled her with an electrical cord, authorities said.

Linda Pedrosa, 17, and Antoine Wright, 23, of Riviera Beach, were charged with first-degree murder in the death of Isabelle Pedrosa, 50. Both also are charged with grand theft.

Detectives said they think Linda Pedrosa was after some of her mother's money and was angry that Isabelle Pedrosa did not approve of her relationship with Wright, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Paul Miller.

"This was premeditated," Miller said. "They had discussed getting rid of her for a while."

Investigators think Isabelle Pedrosa was killed on June 25 when she came home.

"When she came into the residence they were waiting for her," Miller said. "The boyfriend hit her with some type of frying pan and eventually choked her with an electrical cord."

Even after she was killed, Miller said, the couple attempted to destroy Isabelle Pedrosa's remains. They placed her in a bathtub and poured acid on her body, he said.

They then wrapped her body in a tarp and dumped it in a wooded area in northwestern Palm Beach County.

Linda Pedrosa reported her mother missing June 27 and told deputies she thought her mother had gone to Texas.

Meanwhile, Wright and Linda Pedrosa dropped off Isabelle Pedrosa's 1996 Kia at the airport. By this time, Miller said, they had stolen $8,000 in cash from Isabelle Pedrosa.

Surveyors working in The Acreage found the body July 4 and called police.

Detectives had asked for the public's help in identifying Pedrosa, who had no identification and whose body was decomposed.

Dental records confirmed her identity July 9 after detectives matched jewelry she was wearing with a necklace in a photograph of a missing person report.


Beads Help Identify Body Of A Woman

By Kellie Patrick -

July 11, 2000

As soon as he saw the necklace, Detective R.J. Wolfort knew whose body was found July 4 in The Acreage, north of Royal Palm Beach.

The same deep orange, crimson and berry-colored beads around the neck of the badly decomposed body were in Isabelle Pedrosa's photograph from her missing person's report.

Dental records confirmed late Sunday night what Wolfort, of the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, had suspected. Pedrosa's friend and co-worker at Pro Tech optical laboratory in Palm Beach Gardens also recognized the necklace, which Pedrosa had strung together herself. Pedrosa had made one for her, too.

Detectives still don't know how Pedrosa's body ended up between 140th and 130th avenues on the north side of Northlake Boulevard and have made no arrests.

"I'm working it as a murder," said Wolfort at a Monday morning news conference.

The results of an autopsy are pending.

The home life of Isabelle Pedrosa was not always peaceful.

Her husband, Miguel Pedrosa, sits today in the Palm Beach County stockade on a charge of domestic battery against daughter Lisa Pedrosa. He was arrested May 29, and was in custody at the time of his wife's disappearance.

Miguel Pedrosa had been arrested for battery in April 1992 and for assault in 1989, police records show.

Isabelle Pedrosa had a side business helping people file taxes and fill out alien registration forms, police said. On June 24, she told her daughter she was meeting with a client. A man picked her up that evening in a black car.

Police say that Isabelle Pedrosa was not home when her daughter, Linda Pedrosa, returned from her boyfriend's house at 4 a.m. on June 25. Isabelle Pedrosa had returned by 5 a.m. Mother and daughter argued throughout the day about Linda staying out so late with the car, Linda Pedrosa told police.

Later that day, Isabelle Pedrosa packed the car and stated she couldn't take it and was going to Texas to stay with Linda's stepbrother, Wolfort said. This was not the first time Isabelle Pedrosa had left, her daughter told investigators. When she had not shown up at home, work or Texas by June 27, Linda Pedrosa reported her mother missing.

Police received many tips after Isabelle Pedrosa's body was found.

One caller saw a black car or small truck near where the body was found and a white female running in that area.

Wolfort doesn't know whether there is a tie between that vehicle and the one Linda Pedrosa told them her mother rode off in on June 24, but he hopes to talk to that client and any others.

Investigators found Isabelle Pedrosa's gold 1996 Kia parked at the airport on July 7. It contained the items she had packed, but the ticket for the long-term parking garage was missing.

Wolfort wants to talk to anyone who saw Isabelle Pedrosa between her disappearance and death. He asks that anyone with information call him at 561-688-4065 or 800-458-8477.



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