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.