Florida mom accused of trying to hire hitman after son’s murder conviction

Florida mom accused of trying to hire hitman after son’s murder conviction
Florida mom accused of trying to hire hitman after son’s murder conviction

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. – A Florida woman was arrested earlier this week after investigators said she tried to hire a hitman over her son’s murder conviction, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

In a probable cause affidavit, deputies said they responded to a substation in Lake Worth Beach on April 17 regarding the murder-for-hire investigation.

There, they learned from a “confidential informant” that a woman — at the time only identified as “Maria” — had been asking about hiring a hitman, deputies added.

According to the affidavit, “Maria” initially told the informant that she wanted to meet on April 18 to discuss the specifics of the plot. The informant also provided investigators with the cell phone number for “Maria.”

After a background check on the number, detectives said they discovered that “Maria” was actually Josefina Cardona-Cardona, 43.

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Court records show that Cardona-Cardona’s son — Manuel Cardona, 16 — was found guilty earlier this year over a murder back in June 2022.

In that case, investigators said Cardona (who was 14 years old at the time) stabbed a man who had been trying to break up a fight at a 5-year-old’s birthday party. The victim later died at the hospital from his injuries.

Cardona and his parents had reportedly gone to the party uninvited, and an argument had broken out between two other guests about a romantic affair, deputies said. When the victim tried to intervene, Cardona’s father punched him, prompting the victim to defend himself, witnesses reported. Cardona then stabbed the victim, and both Cardona and his parents beat him on the ground before fleeing the scene, according to an investigative report.

Cardona was ultimately sentenced to 15 years in prison for second-degree murder earlier this year.

Manuel Marcos Cardona, 16 (Florida Department of Corrections)

An undercover agent contacted Cardona-Cardona to ask about the plot, and the agent learned that she wanted someone to kill two witnesses “responsible for having her son sent to prison,” the affidavit reads.

Cardona-Cardona — who believed that the agent was a hitman for hire — explained she would pay $8,000 for their murders, asking that the agent shoot one of them in the body “so it can be painful” and so they “could think about it ,” because “a mother shouldn’t be without her son,” investigators said.

She met with the agent several more times at a variety of locations, such as in front of both targets’ homes, and she continued discussing payments and her reasons for wanting them dead, detectives reported.

Cardona-Cardona was eventually arrested on Monday, and she faces two counts of solicitation and two counts of first-degree murder. She is held on bond of $550,000.

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