Both sides rest in Cady Way murder trial

Hector Rodriguez charged in deaths of Winter Park teens

Published On: Jul 30 2013 08:27:31 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 31 2013 06:07:54 AM EDT
ORLANDO, Fla. -

Jesse Davis, one of two men charged in the deaths of two Winter Park teens along the Cady Way Trail, took the stand on Tuesday in the trial for his accused accomplice, Hector Rodriguez, but refused to testify.

Rodriguez, 32, is on trial for the April 2012 slayings of 16-year-old Nicholas Presha and 18-year-old Jeremy Stewart.  Davis pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in November 2012 and was sentenced to life in prison.

Davis was sent back to a holding cell until his attorneys arrived after he refused to testify. His attorney told the judge that Davis said there were "voices in his head telling him not to testify."

The judge said Davis was found mentally competent to testify before his trial.  He was sentenced to 179 days in jail in addition to his life sentences after the judge held him in contempt of court.

Both sides rested Tuesday afternoon, and jurors will return to court Wednesday morning for closing arguments and jury instructions.

Rodriguez faces life in prison in the slayings of the teens, whose bodies were found burning on the side of the popular Winter Park bike trail.

The state rested its case Tuesday afternoon, and the defense began calling witnesses to the stand.  The day started with a glitch, however, after a detective caught one of the witnesses listening to court proceedings using a cellphone.

The witness, Rodriguez's girlfriend Brandy Loder, was listening to the proceedings on her phone and not following the sequestration order. She said she wasn't aware of sequestration rules and although she was notified of the rules, she didn't understand them.

She admitted it isn't the first time she heard the trial and that she searched news reports on the Internet, listening to two witnesses testifying.

"I'm sorry I misunderstood.  I thought I wasn't allowed to be around them and talk to them," she said.

The defense called Loder as a witness after the lunch break.

Officials claim Rodriguez and Davis robbed the teens, who were trying to sell guns to the pair.

Defense attorneys haven't denied Rodriguez's role in robbing the teens but claim he did not shoot them.

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