ORLANDO, Fla. - Witness says Rodriguez admitted to killing teens in Cady Way Trail slayings
Jurors on Thursday heard about the terrifying last hours of two Winter Park High School students who were killed and then had their bodies burned on the Cady Way Trail.
Prosecutors said Hector Rodriguez was one of two men who killed Nicholas Presha, 16, and Jeremy Stewart, 18, after the two met with him and Jesse Davis about a gun for sale.
Davis pleaded guilty on murder charges and was sentenced to life in prison. After his sentencing, Davis told authorities Rodriguez had nothing to do with the killings, but prosecutors said he's lying and believe Rodriguez was right there with him.
Davis' friend, Jonathan Tischer, said he was at Davis' house to buy marijuana when the teenagers' deal to sell Davis and Rodriguez guns they had stolen turned into a robbery and kidnapping.
Tischer said Stewart first thought it was a joke and went from resisting Davis' demands to get on the floor and strip down to begging the men to stop. Davis fired his gun and then struck Stewart in the face with it, the witness said.
"They were both saying the same thing. 'Get on the ground and get naked.' They said it in a hostile manner," said Tischer. "Nicholas Presha was complying. Jeremy Stewart was not. Davis fired the gun. Stewart started to comply, started to plead. Davis struck him in the face with a firearm."
Tischer said he went back to his vehicle where his girlfriend was waiting and drove off.
"It was horrible. I was in a state of panic. I wasn't asking for any of this," said Tischer.
The next day, Tischer said, Rodriguez admitted that he and Davis had shot the teenagers execution-style and burned their bodies.
Tischer said he was shocked and felt guilty that maybe he could have helped somehow, but he only talked to police about a month later after they contacted him.
Presha's father, Bernie Presha, who is a state attorney detective and former high-ranking sheriff's officer, also took the stand and testified about the last time he saw his son alive.
"Give him a kiss goodnight and seeing him off to bed," said Presha.
Bernie Presha said when they called the teenager for breakfast the next morning, they found he had stuffed his bed to make it appear as though he was there.
Rodriguez's trial will continue Friday.