NBC’s ‘Dateline: Miami Heat’ chronicles the murder of Ilan Nissim in Miami, Florida, in May 2008. The father of one had been allegedly thought to be involved in the shootout of another individual, and it played a primary reason behind his death. It took the officers more than two years before the perpetrator responsible for the killing was arrested. If you’re interested in finding out more about the case, including the perpetrator’s identity and current whereabouts, we’ve got you covered. Let’s begin then, shall we?
How Did Ilan Nissim Die?
Janepsy “Cindy” Mesa Carballo met her future husband, Orlando Mesa, at a Super Bowl party in Miami, Florida, in 2006. The young Dresser was immediately drawn to the handsome wild curly-haired Mechanic’s sense of humor and ambition. She said how Orlando not only fixed cars but also bought a couple of lunch trucks and branched out into real estate development. Cindy reminisced, “Orlando was a jokester. He made me laugh.” He made a romantic proposal, and the couple was settled into domestic life with a young son, Noah, by April 2008.
However, the couple’s blissful life was thrown into disarray one early evening on April 20, 2008. According to Cindy, Orlando and Noah were walking down the road in front of their residence with the latter’ toy car. Suddenly, two dreadlocked men dressed in black drove up to them in a white vehicle and fired random shots. The men jumped back into their car and fired again before speeding away. She recounted, “I heard shots, very loud shots, and I went outside. That’s when I saw my husband full of blood, crying for help.”
Cindy recalled how she did initially not see her 18-month-old son and dreaded he was kidnapped. Soon, she found the neighbor, in whose front yard Orlando was lying, had picked up her son from the dying man’s hand and taken him to safety. According to the show, the victim used his final moments to protect his infant son. Cindy said, “My son was shot in his arm and leg, but his father protected him. When there was shooting at him, he just lifted my son.”
Neighbors called 911, and medical respondents arrived at the scene. Cindy was put in a difficult situation – whether to ride in the ambulance with her injured son or stay with her dying husband. She said, “Of course, I was torn in two, but my main concern was my baby, so I jumped immediately into the ambulance.” She would later learn from the detectives of the North Miami Police Department that Orlando had succumbed to his injuries. The investigators began to look into his business associates and discovered he had once been involved with the drug mafia.
Cindy told the detectives it was Ilan Nissim, an acquaintance and business partner of her late husband, who was behind Orlando’s murder. She stated the latter had given him $180,00 for a real estate transaction, yet he claimed the money was later lost in a robbery. Nevertheless, she could not provide specific details about why Ilan might have wanted her husband dead. Former North Miami Police Detective Felix Guadarrama explained, “It was just like her gut feeling this guy was involved.”
According to reports, the investigators asked Cindy to communicate with Ilan and wear a wire to record any incriminating statement. They warned her it might be dangerous, though she never wore it. Cindy stated she bought a gun for the first time in her life. But before the police could find any evidence that connected Ilan to the fatal shooting, they were shocked to find he had been shot to death inside her home on May 20, exactly one month after her husband’s homicide. His autopsy report stated he had been fatally shot six times in the back.
Cindy Mesa Was Convicted for Killing Ilan Nissim
Cindy told the police she had fired the shots in self-defense, alleging Ilan had barged inside her home and attacked her while she was packing her bags. She stated, “He started asking me about my husband’s warehouse and if I had my husband’s keys, and I said, ‘I don’t know where he keeps his keys,’ That’s when he started to become aggressive and said I knew more than I was telling him.” She also claimed he grabbed at her, scratched her neck, ripped her shirt, and chased her through the house.
According to Cindy, Ilan tripped on one of her bags, allowing her time to get hold of her gun. She thought he was reaching for his pistol and claimed she shot him in panic. The police believed her story, and no charges were pressed against her for the shooting. Two years later, Cindy owned a healthcare clinic specializing in pain management. However, the single mother’s business caught the Drug Enforcement Agency’s attention (DEA), with the authorities believing the clinic might be a front for a pill mill.
Suspecting illegal activities, the DEA operatives sent an informant, John Friskey, to scrutinize the matter. He was involved in Cindy’s business, selling her computers and helping her set them up. Unbeknownst to her, the computer expert was wearing a wire when she confessed to killing Ilan to him. The episode played fragments of the recording where Cindy could be heard saying, “I was like, I—I have to do something. … I can’t let this go. I won’t let it go. An eye for an eye. I want his daughter to grow—to grow up without a father like my son.”
Cindy admitted calling Ilan to help her take down some speakers in her bedroom on May 20. When he arrived and was inside the bedroom, she retrieved her gun from the living space and waited for him to come out. John immediately contacted his DEA operative from the restroom and took the recordings to the authorities. Cindy was arrested in December 2010. Her defense counsel tried the self-defense theory again, yet a judge ordered her to stand trial on the first-degree murder charge.
Cindy was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole in November 2014. According to prison records, the 46-year-old is incarcerated at the Lowell Correctional Institution. Miami Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said, “Revenge isn’t tolerated anywhere in the system even if it’s understandable and somebody might have sympathy. Sometimes it is just an excuse, but it’s a lousy excuse to kill somebody. You cannot do it. You will be held accountable.” The authorities have claimed Ilan was never a primary suspect in Orlando’s shooting, and the latter’s murder remains unsolved to date.