Defense rests in Cady Way Trail murder trial; Jesse Davis refuses to testify

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

The defense rested its case Tuesday and closing arguments will begin Wednesday in the case against Hector Rodriguez, who is on trial on charges he killed two Winter Park High School students and burned their bodies along the Cady Way Trail.

Rodriguez is accused of helping Jesse Davis kill and then burn the bodies of Nicholas Presha, 16, and Jeremy Stewart, 18.

Davis pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the murders. He later told investigators Rodriguez had no part in the crime, but he would not reiterate that on the stand Tuesday.

"You indicated to the court reporter you didn't want to testify. Is that correct?" asked Judge Alan Apte.

"That's correct," said Davis.

The judge ordered Davis to testify and even allowed the defense to ask questions with jurors out of the courtroom.

But Davis wouldn't respond and was held in contempt.

Davis said he was hearing voices and according to his attorney, those voices were telling him not to testify.

"I hear voice. I hear voices," Davis said.

Prosecutors contend Davis was trying to protect Rodriguez, and to protect himself from being viewed as a snitch in state prison.

Presha's and Stewart's bodies were found burning on the Cady Way Trail in April 2012.

Earlier, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement forensic investigator talked about the bullets found in Presha and Stewart.

Jurors heard a muffled last call made from Stewart's phone at 4:17 a.m.; a detective called it an unintentional call.

The only controversial issue came just before lunch, when the mother of Rodriguez's child, Brandie Loder, who is a possible witness in the case, was caught listening to a livestream of testimony on a mobile phone.

"I've been keeping an eye on it pretty closely because it's affecting somebody I love," said Loder.

WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said it doesn't appear that what she heard will have much impact on her testimony, since she's not expected to be an alibi witness.