Drugs and extortion led to the murders of a young couple as 3 young kids slept nearby

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Jeremy Macauley will likely spend the rest of his life in prison for the Oct. 15, 2015, shooting deaths of Tavernier couple Tara Rosado and Carlos Ortiz, who were gunned down in their bedroom while Rosado’s three young children slept just down the hall in the same house.

Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia handed down consecutive life sentences to Macauley, 34, Tuesday at the Plantation Key courthouse for the murders of Rosado, 26, and Ortiz. He also got 30 years for armed robbery. A 12-person jury convicted Macauley on Nov. 15 after less than two hours of deliberation.

The murders were the end result of an extortion attempt made by Ortiz over a large drug-dealing operation involving him and Macauley. Rosado was targeted simply because she witnessed Ortiz’s slaying. They were both killed in the bedroom of her house on Cuba Road.

Garcia told Macauley, who maintained his innocence, that he appointed himself “judge, jury and executioner” and sentenced Rosado’s children “to a life without their mother,” and in the process he sentenced his children “ to a life without their father.”

In a statement read in court by Assistant State Attorney Reid Scott, Rosado’s sister, Katelyn Farley, called Tara “warm, funny and forgiving.”

“She would more than likely have forgiven you,” she said to Macauley.

Jessica Saylor, Ortiz’s former girlfriend, speaking on behalf of his family, said he “was loved by many, and also a stepfather to a beautiful boy. He wasn’t a bad person. He just got caught up in the wrong situation. I’d like to say sorry to Tara’s family as well.”

Prosecutors say the cocaine Macauley was dealing — anywhere from 12 to 15 kilos — was found offshore of Islamorada the summer before the murders while he was working as a mate on the charter fishing boat Sea Horse. He brought it to shore and sold it with the help of several friends, including Ortiz.

Macauley’s boss at the time, Richard Rodriguez, also the focus of Ortiz’s extortion efforts, has maintained from the beginning that he had nothing to do with the cocaine and had no knowledge of it.

Cellphone records shown during the trial show Ortiz began frantically sending Macauley text messages the day before the murders demanding money and a larger portion of the cocaine to sell. If not, he said he was going to tell the police about the drugs.

The last communication between Ortiz and Macauley was a text from Macauley saying he’d come to the Cuba Road house with the money. That was around 10 p.m. Police say Ortiz and Rosado were killed around 10:30 p.m.

Macauley’s partner, Adrian Demblans, 35, drove him to and away from the crime scene. He pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact of a capital felony last spring and agreed to cooperate with the state against Macauley. Demblans, now serving 10 years in prison, testified against Macauley in open court during the November trial.


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