WUFT News

Pedro Bravo Testifies

By on August 14th, 2014 | Last updated: August 14, 2014 at 4:04 pm
Pedro Bravo testifies on the witness stand during his murder trial in courtroom 1B of the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center Thursday, August 14, 2014.  Bravo is accused of killing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar.  (Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun/Pool)

Pedro Bravo testifies on the witness stand during his murder trial in courtroom 1B of the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center Thursday, August 14, 2014. Bravo is accused of killing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar. (Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun/Pool)

Pedro Bravo walked into court on the morning of August 14 with the decision to testify on his own defense. He is accused of murdering University of Florida student Christian Aguilar in 2012.

Yesterday Judge James Colaw told the twelve-person jury to plan for deliberations to begin on Thursday.

Depending on how long it takes for the defense to present it’s case, it may or may not go to the jury today.

Jurors have listened to a week and a half of testimony, including a former girlfriend of Bravo and Aguilar, crime lab analysts and most recently Bravo’s former cellmate.

Bravo has pleaded not guilty to seven charges, saying he and Aguilar fought, but that he did not kill him.

Court resumes at 9am. You can follow the latest updates on Twitter @WUFTPedroBravo.

Local | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bravo’s Cellmate Gives Details of Murder

By on August 13th, 2014 | Last updated: August 13, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Michael Angelo, a Crips gang member, testified in court today saying it took Pedro Bravo 13 minutes to kill Christian Aguilar, a former University of Florida student.

Angelo, a nine-time convicted felon with counts of possession of a weapon and gang activity, walked into the Alachua County Courthouse this morning to testify against his former cellmate.

Angelo shared a cell with Bravo in 2012. Bravo, 20, is pleading not guilty to charges of murder, kidnapping and other charges related to Aguilar’s death. Angelo nervously took the stand in day eight of the trial. After being questioned about his personal criminal background, the discussion quickly turned to his time spent in the cell he shared with Bravo.

Angelo noticed signs that Bravo was suicidal, stating that Bravo cried often. Officials in the Alachua County Jail found a suicide note written by Bravo during a search of the cell.

“He asked me to borrow a pen and my shoelace,” Angelo recalled. “I asked him what for and he said so he could write a suicide note for his parents.”

In the suicide note, Bravo wrote that he was “a monster for hurting Chris” and “monsters shouldn’t exist in this world.”

Assistant State Attorney Brian Kramer asked Angelo to talk about what Pedro Bravo told him about the night Aguilar went missing. Angelo described what he remembered from Pedro Bravo’s stories and his meeting with Aguilar.

After several attempts to meet up with Aguilar, Bravo told Angelo that he finally agreed.
“He told the kid…he just wanted to talk,” Angelo said. That is when Bravo picked up Aguilar from the Hub on the University of Florida campus and drove to the Zaxby’s on Archer Road.

Angelo said Bravo talked about driving around Gainesville and going to different locations like Best Buy and the Walmart on 13th Street. Angelo then described what he claims Bravo told him about what happened moments before 18-year-old Aguilar’s life came to an end.

“He parked …on the side of the parking lot…behind Walmart.”

The courtroom listened to Angelo’s words as he described the scene he said Bravo narrated to him almost two years ago in their pod at the Alachua County Jail.

“He got out like he had to find something in the backseat…when he was back there… he basically put a moving strap around the kids neck…and he remembers watching the clock on the radio….and said it took like thirteen minutes for the kid …to die,” Angelo said.

Members of the jury began crying as Angelo laid out the details of that night.

Angelo said Bravo told him he put Aguilar’s body in the ground after he dug a hole and covered it up with a shrub and rock.

Angelo said Bravo continued to communicate with him even after Bravo moved to a different pod at the jail. At one point he slid a chip bag, with a note inside, under Angelo’s cell door.

“I had some recruiting charges for gang charges… [Bravo] pretty much looked at it like I had people on the streets that could do something for him or something like that,” Angelo said about Bravo asking for his help to cover up the murder.

The prosecution believes Bravo was trying to frame the murder to make it look like a serial killer took Aguilar’s life rather than Bravo himself.

Members of the defense tried to question the credibility of Angelo by reminding the courtroom and jury that Angelo was testifying on the grounds that it could lessen his term of a possible life sentence.

Angelo, was the key point in today’s trial, as he highlighted details of Aguilar’s death as he remembers Pedro Bravo telling him. All the while, Bravo sat in the same room watching the testimonies, patiently listening to everything being said.

Court adjourned shortly after noon today and will resume tomorrow at 9 am. Judge James Colaw said deliberation from the jury could begin tomorrow. Bravo has until morning to decide whether or not he will testify.

Local | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Pictures From Day Eight Of Bravo Trial

By on August 13th, 2014 | Last updated: August 13, 2014 at 3:20 pm
Local | Tagged , | Leave a comment

No, Pedro Bravo Didn’t Ask Siri Where to Stash His Roommate’s Body

By on August 13th, 2014 | Last updated: August 13, 2014 at 8:00 pm
A screen shot of a Siri search from a Facebook cache viewed on Pedro Bravo's cell phone is shown to the jury during Bravo's murder trial in courtroom 1B of the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center Tuesday, August 12, 2014.  Bravo is accused of killing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar.

Doug Finger / Pool/The Gainesville Sun

A screen shot of a Siri search from a Facebook cache viewed on Pedro Bravo's cell phone is shown to the jury during Bravo's murder trial in courtroom 1B of the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center Tuesday, August 12, 2014. Bravo is accused of killing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar.

There has been a great deal of attention on the Pedro Bravo trial happening here in Gainesville. Unfortunately, some of the most recent news just isn’t true.

Update: Read the transcript from the trial where the assistant state attorney questions the GPD detective on the image of a Siri search.

Following a story posted by WPXI and other Cox Media affiliates, many national and international media outlets are running with a story that Bravo, who is accused of killing Christian Aguilar, asked Siri where to stash his “roommate’s” body.

Two things are wrong with that narrative: according to Gainesville Police, and our reporters in the courtroom, Detective Goeckel never testified that Bravo performed that Siri search, and Aguilar and Bravo were not roommates.

GPD public information officer Ben Tobias took to Twitter this morning to start to debunk some of the rumors:

Other reporters covering the trial also chimed in:

Some in the national media initially met the questioning with some surprise:

https://twitter.com/jaketapper/status/499579239474405376


Perhaps we can chalk this up to the old adage “never let the facts get in the way of a good story?”

Stay tuned to WUFT News for our from-the-courthouse coverage of the Bravo trial, including our live feed and @WUFTPedroBravo twitter feed. Or check out some of the excellent work by our friends at the Alligator.

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: Ryan Giusti, Cox Media Group managing editor for the national content desk, has contacted WUFT News and said that the report did not originate with WPXI, but rather with Action News Jax in Jacksonville, Fla., another station in the Cox Media Group. The national and international press aggregating this information have been linking to the WPXI report, which is why we identified it above.

Update 2:30 p.m. WUFT News has pulled the footage from yesterday’s trial where Detective Goeckel discussed the image which prompted the reports that Bravo did a search on Siri. Assistant State Attorney Bill Ezzell questions the detective:

“You indicated the State’s H-I [Siri Screenshot] came from the camera roll or the saved images folder you could say of this iPhone. Is that fair?

Goeckel: “It comes out as images, it’s in the Facebook cache is what it’s in.”

“And so, because it’s coming from somewhere off the internet, or something like that, Facebook is a social networking site accessed by the internet, is that fair to say?”

Goeckel: “Yes.”

“Might that explain why this screen capture indicates an AT&T provider as opposed to Verizon which is the carrier of the defendant’s cell phone?”

Goeckel: “Correct”

“Might that explain – or let me ask you this – do you know what this screen capture is of? What we would call this?”

Goeckel: “This would be from a Siri.”

“Okay, was Siri as a program, was she available on the iPhone 4?”

Goeckel: “No.”

“Okay, how could a Siri image appear on an iPhone 4?”

Goeckel: “In this case it was cached on Facebook, it was viewed on Facebook with the phone.”

Editor’s note: Tapper reached out via twitter about our initial characterization of his skepticism about the tweets. We’ve updated it to reflect his questioning as surprise that media outlets ran with the story.

Local | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Crime Lab Analysts Testify In Pedro Bravo Trial

By on August 13th, 2014 | Last updated: August 13, 2014 at 11:38 am
Florida Department of Law Enforcement analyst Marianne Hildreth testifies during Pedro Bravo's murder trial in courtroom 1B of the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center Tuesday, August 12, 2014.  Bravo is accused of killing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar.  (Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun)

Florida Department of Law Enforcement analyst Marianne Hildreth testifies during Pedro Bravo's murder trial in courtroom 1B of the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center Tuesday, August 12, 2014. Bravo is accused of killing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar. (Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun/Pool)

Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime lab analysts testified Tuesday about evidence collected in the murder trial of Pedro Bravo.

During the investigation FDLE analyst Marianne Hildreth examined pieces of duct tape recovered from the remains of Christian Aguilar and from the windshield of Bravo’s car.

Hildreth testified that she was able to determine that the duct tape recovered from the ankle of Aguilar was once part of the same roll of tape that was recovered from the windshield of the car.

FDLE analyst Greg Brock, who works with DNA, also took the stand on Tuesday. Brock said he was able to obtain a full DNA profile of Aguilar from a toothbrush.

From that toothbrush, Brock was able to confirm that blood found on items in Bravo’s car match the DNA of Aguilar.

Court resumed at 8:15 this morning and will adjourn at noon. For more updates follow us on Twitter at WUFT Pedro Bravo and you can also watch our live stream of the trial.

 

Local | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Associate Medical Examiner Testifies in Bravo Trial

By on August 12th, 2014 | Last updated: August 15, 2014 at 2:42 pm
Dr. Martha Burt, a medical examiner with the District 8 Medical Examiner's Office, testifies during the Pedro Bravo murder trial in courtroom 1B of the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center Tuesday, August 12, 2014.  Bravo is accused of killing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar.  (Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun/Pool)

Dr. Martha Burt, a medical examiner with the District 8 Medical Examiner's Office, testifies during the Pedro Bravo murder trial in courtroom 1B of the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center Tuesday, August 12, 2014. Bravo is accused of killing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar. (Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun/Pool)

The state presented pictures of Christian Aguilar’s remains as Dr. Martha Burt gave testimony on her examination of the body.

Burt is an associate medical examiner for the 8th District, which includes Alachua County.

Burt recalled going to the wooded area in Levy County where Christian Aguilar’s remains were found “partially skeletonized.”

The state presented photos of the remains in which Burt described a “gray, duct tape like material” that was found looped around the wrists, the neck and ankles of the body.

Burt said a comparison of dental records with the remains was used to positively identify Aguilar.

The medical examiner report states that the cause of death was homicide by unspecified means.

You can tune in to our exclusive live stream of the trial online at WUFT.org and follow constant updates on Twitter  @WUFTPedroBravo.

Local | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Pictures From Day Seven of Pedro Bravo Trial

By on August 12th, 2014 | Last updated: August 12, 2014 at 5:53 pm
Local | Tagged , | Leave a comment

GPD Detective Roberts Testifies in Bravo Trial

By on August 11th, 2014 | Last updated: August 11, 2014 at 6:25 pm
Gainesville Police Det. Randy Roberts listens to his Sept. 21, 2012 interview with Pedro Bravo as it's played for the jury during Pedro Bravo's murder trial in courtroom 1B of the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center Monday, August 11, 2014.  Bravo is accused of killing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar.  (Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun/Pool)

Gainesville Police detective Randy Roberts listens to his Sept. 21, 2012 interview with Pedro Bravo as it's played for the jury during Pedro Bravo's murder trial in courtroom 1B of the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center Monday, August 11, 2014. Bravo is accused of killing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar. (Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun/Pool)

During the second half of the Pedro Bravo trial today, the state

presented interrogation video between Detective Randy Roberts of the

Gainesville Police Department and defendant Pedro Bravo.

In the video Bravo said he never wanted to go to a school like Santa Fe. He wanted

to go to a University like the University of Florida or Harvard, and

that’s one of the main reasons he felt suicidal.

 

“Also, your friend (Christian Aguilar) is dating your ex-girlfriend?”

Roberts questioned Bravo.

 

“No, that doesn’t bother me,” said Bravo. “He’s a good guy.”

 

Bravo’s original story during the interrogation was that he and Aguilar

were in Bravo’s car together and the two got into an altercation. Bravo

then stopped the car and kicked Aguilar out.

 

Roberts told Bravo not to be afraid to tell him if something happened

and that he had hurt Aguilar trying to defend himself.

 

“Christian isn’t a person to attack me. And yes I would fight back, but

I also wouldn’t attack someone out of spite,” said Bravo.

 

Eventually Bravo conceded in the video that he had in fact punched Aguilar. Otherwise,

he said that he would have felt guilty and was afraid it would come back to bite him.

Bravo said he only punched Aguilar once after Aguilar said “You should kill

yourself, you should do it.” Although Bravo admitted there was a

physical altercation, he stressed that he only punched him once, just because he

was angry.

 

In his original story he told authorities he did not have Aguilar’s

phone, but then later admitted that he kept it and turned it off at

about 7:20 that night. He said he planned on keeping Aguilar’s backpack

until the next day, but threw his phone out the window. He said he

wanted to give the backpack back to Aguilar the next day and apologize.

 

Bravo said that Aguilar did not say anything during the fight, aside

from the comment that started it.

 

Bravo’s story continued to change throughout the interview including

how many times he punched Aguilar, and details of where he drove to, and

what he did later that night.

 

“Do you know what happened to Christian?” asked Roberts.

 

“No,” said Bravo.

 

“What do you think happened to him?”

 

“I’m hoping he’s lost.”

 

When Roberts was questioned in the court room he stated that he

and Bravo had gone out in his patrol car to retrace Bravo’s steps the night he

kicked Aguilar out of the car. When Bravo told the story again in the next

interrogation video, he said he went a different

way than what he had originally shown the detective.

 

Roberts went to Bravo’s house the next day where he found

Aguilar’s backpack inside a suitcase in Bravo’s closet.

 

State attorneys questioned Roberts on warrants he obtained in September

of 2012 to search Bravo’s home and his continuation in the case when Aguilar’s body

was found in Levy County 6.2 miles west of Otter Creek at Gulf Hammock Hunt Club.

 

The trial is scheduled to continue tomorrow at 9 am.

 

Local | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Pictures From Day Six Of Pedro Bravo Trial

By on August 11th, 2014 | Last updated: August 11, 2014 at 5:09 pm
Local | Leave a comment

Pedro Bravo Trial Resumes Today

By on August 11th, 2014 | Last updated: August 11, 2014 at 7:58 am

Week two of the Pedro Bravo trial begins today.

Pedro Bravo is charged with the murder and kidnapping of Christian Aguilar, which the prosecution is saying was because of jealousy over Aguilar dating an ex-girlfriend of Bravo’s.

On Friday, Bravo’s two former roommates took the stand, and so did the two men that found Aguilar’s body in the woods of Levy County.

The trial is set to begin at 9 AM.

You can tune in to our exclusive live stream of the trial online at WUFT.org and follow gavel-to-gavel coverage on Twitter  @WUFTPedroBravo.

Local | Leave a comment

Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments