Investigators with the Orange County Sheriff's Homicide Unit have charged two men in connection with a double-murder which occurred on Sunday, April 15, in East Orange County.
During a news conference Friday evening, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings named Jesse Davis and Hector Rodriguez, both 30, as those responsible for the slaying of two Winter Park High School students.
The bodies of Nicholas Presha 16, and Jeremy Stewart, 18, were found burning along the Cady Way Trail by bikers. The scene was so gruesome that a passerby who called 911 wasn't sure if it was real, telling a dispatcher it might be mannequins that were on fire.
While investigators were at the scene, fire officials received a call about a small fire near a storage shed at the Sun Bay Apartments on Aloma Avenue. Technicians examined the scene of the fire and determined it was related to the deaths of the two men, but few details have been released on how the two incidents are related.
At the time of the teens' killings, deputies were searching for Jesse Davis on suspicion of trying to kill a man during an attempted robbery in early February. Davis is already in custody following an arrest related to the attempted robbery.
Rodriguez was arrested early Friday evening at a unit at the Nob Hill Apartments located near the intersection of Aloma Ave. and N. Semoran Blvd. in Winter Park. Demings said forensic evidence and witness testimony led to the arrest of Rodriguez, who has been identified as an accomplice to Davis.
Forensic evidence was collected from several locations which link the suspects to the crime, Demings told reporters.
"Multiple interviews were conducted by as many as 10 detectives during the investigation for probable cause," he said, adding that hundreds of hours of surveillance video from different locations had also been collected and studied.
Demings said that, despite speculation that the victims were killed due to a drug debt, as reported by other media outlets in Orlando, such was not the case.
Investigators concluded that the teens were attempting to sell two stolen handguns to Davis and Rodriguez. Subsequently, Davis and Rodriguez robbed the teens of the weapons. Demings later added that the same stolen weapons were used to kill the teens. Demings would not elaborate on how the teens acquired the guns.
"In simple terms, the teen victims, unfortunately, met their demise when they encountered two evil and dangerous criminals."
Davis and Rodriguez are both charged with fist degree murder and kidnapping.
"Other charges will be submitted as we proceed," said Demings.