Miami, FL

A Florida judge sentences killer to boot camp for a few months

Jenifer Knighton
Giselle RengifoJK

Miami is known for its clear beaches and white sand, but what's going on in the courtroom behind closed doors? Was Judge Lody Jean paid off to favor Michael McGowan in court? Possibly. Continue reading to find out why.

Miami, Florida- In 2020, Miami teen Michael McGowan shot and killed 17-year-old Giselle Rengifo in cold blood. McGowan was just one month shy of his 18th birthday.

More than two years later, Rengifo's family thought that justice would finally be served.

However, yesterday afternoon during a court hearing, McGowan, a known drug dealer, and his defense team cried victim shortly before he pleaded guilty to manslaughter in court. According to witnesses, instead of being correctly punished for the murder that was committed, McGowan was sentenced to spend a little bit of time in bootcamp by Judge Lody Jean.

Has Justice been served or is this a disgrace to the judicial system?

Family and friends continue grieving the tragic loss of 17-year-old Giselle 'Gigi' Rengifo, who suffered a fatal gunshot wound on May 18, 2020. Rengifo was pronounced dead at the scene after authorities arrived around 8:30 p.m.

Rengifo's loved ones were left in shock after spending over 3 hours watching McGowan fall asleep in court, while hearing his sob story that included allegations of abuse against his parents, homelessness, and childhood neglect, followed by claims of an accidental shooting.

Rengifo's family and friends believe that her killing was no accident at all. According to them, McGowan shed fake tears in court. He showed no remorse for what he did, and according to Rengifo's loved ones, McGowan's family is well-known in Miami, and his mother works for a law firm.

They feel that justice has not been served. To them, it was all a setup, the court was staged, and the judge already knew the sentence that she would give McGowan because his family paid her off.

It was acknowledged in court that historically McGowan had shot several types of guns with his father at shooting ranges, he was a known drug dealer in Miami, running a trap house.

Hours before Giselle's murder, McGowan posted a video on SnapChat showing a bullet in the gun he used to kill Rengifo.
Michael McGowan

After fatally shooting her at close range in the back of the head, McGowan posted another snap saying "I am going away for a long time."
Michael McGowan

He had he had time to record the bullet in the barrel and take pics for snap after he murdered my 17-year-old sister, said Rengifo's sister, Salomes Jackson.

Confidential sources who wish to remain anonymous have alleged that the teens who were present the night of Giselle's murder only claimed that the shooting was an accident because that's what Michael told them, not because they saw what happened.

Do you have information about this story? Send confidential email to

If you are the survivor of a shooting or other traumatic incident and need assistance, please call or text the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 for 24/7 support.


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Jenifer Knighton is a Community Activist, Journalist, Counselor, and DWI-Education and Intervention Instructor focused on social justice and change. Her mission is to build stronger communities through Hope, Empowerment, Advocacy and Outreach, Resources, and Support.

Houston, TX

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