Stand your ground hearing continued for hitchhiker in fatal Brevard stabbing

Joshua Keravuori accused of killing Terry Hilliard, 65, of Ocala

VIERA, Fla. – A stand your ground hearing Friday for a man accused of fatally stabbing another man at a Brevard County motel in February 2018 has been continued.

Friday's hearing was continued to allow for additional testimony. A date has not yet been scheduled.

Prosecutors said Joshua Keravuori, then 18, stabbed Terry Hilliard, 65, of Ocala, about two dozen times at the Dixie Motel in Cocoa.

The defense said Keravuori killed Hilliard in self-defense while protecting himself from being sexually assaulted.

Officials said Hilliard was visiting Brevard County from Marion County for the SpaceX Falcon Heavy test flight on Feb. 6 when he was stabbed to death.

Hilliard told his wife that he watched the launch, but he was going to stay at a motel because of the traffic and drive home the next morning, according to Cocoa police.

According to investigators, Hilliard picked up Keravuori, who was hitchhiking. 

On Friday, former motel employee Patricia Arnold testified about checking Hilliard and Keravuori into a room.

She said she spoke with Hilliard about the launch.

"We got into talking about how tired he was, talking about the traffic coming from Cocoa Beach," Arnold said.

She testified that at first, she figured Hilliard may have been Keravuori's grandfather or uncle but then, Arnold said Hilliard chose a room with one bed.

"When they said that they didn't want two beds, then I assumed a different relationship," she testified.

Detectives said after the killing, Keravuori stole Hilliard's watch, wedding ring, wallet, cellphone, pistol and car.

Keravuori was on the run for days before turning himself in to police in Alpharetta, Georgia, according to authorities. 

Police said Keravuori told them he attacked Hilliard after the man attempted to rape him.

A murder weapon was not found, police said.

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