• Jesse Davis sentenced to life in Cady Way Trail murders


    ORLANDO, Fla. - Jesse Davis pleaded guilty Friday and was given two life sentences for killing two Winter Park High School students and then burning their bodies along the Cady Way Trail.

    Davis pleaded guilty to killing 16-year-old Nicholas Presha and 18-year-old Jeremy Stewart in April.

    "You are sentenced to life in prison," Judge Alan Apte told Davis.

    Investigators said the two teens tried to sell stolen guns to Davis and a second suspect, Hector Rodriguez.

    But Davis, 31, tied the teens up, took them to the Cady Way Trail and shot them execution -style before setting their bodies ablaze.

    Davis' mother could be seen crying in court as the judge sentenced Davis to life in prison without parole.

    "The loss of those young boys, I could never, ever express anything that would even come close to helping those parents. There's nothing I could say or do," she said after court.

    Davis' attorney tried a couple of times to have the court declare Davis incompetent to stand trial, but it didn't work.

    The trial was set to begin next week, but in a surprise move, the plea hearing was called Friday.

    The plea deal was interesting, because prosecutors weren't seeking the death penalty, which means life in prison was the maximum Davis could have received.

    WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said it's a rare case, because most defendants feel they have nothing to lose by going to trial.

    However, as part of the plea, prosecutors agreed to write a letter asking the Department of Corrections to consider housing Davis in a facility close to Orlando, close to his family.

    "I'll just have to deal with it," said Davis' mother, Patricia Hall. "I'll just have to deal with it as best I can."

    Stewart's father told WFTV that the guilty plea was a huge relief, knowing Davis will be behind bars forever.

    Stewart's father also said he wishes Davis would have been taken off the streets earlier for another attempted murder case before his son was murdered.

    Autopsy reports show Presha was shot three times in the head before his body was set on fire. He was found with partially burned underwear around his head, and also tested positive for the drug benzodiazepine, a type of tranquilizer.

    Stewart suffered blunt-force trauma and was shot in the back of the head, according to the autopsy report. He also had a blood-soaked cloth wrapped around his head.

    Two bullet casings were also found at the scene, but it was originally believed that the teens were shot and then moved there.

    During Davis' plea hearing, Davis also pleaded guilty to an attempted murder from February. The victim was shot several times but lived.

    Rodriguez did not want to be tried with Davis and did not want to rush to trial, so his murder trial is scheduled for May.

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