Cady Way Trail murder trial continues

Hector Rodriguez accused of killing Winter Park High School teens

ORLANDO, Fla. - Prosecutors on Thursday continued their case in the murder of a man charged in the deaths of two Winter Park High School teens who were slain on the Cady Way Trail.

Hector Rodriguez, 32, one of two men charged in the April 2012 slayings of 16-year-old Nicholas Presha and 18-year-old Jeremy Stewart, rejected a plea deal last week that would have given him 30 years in prison.

Rodriguez, who's charged with two counts of first-degree murder, faces a maximum of six consecutive life sentences, if he's found guilty.

Jesse Davis pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in November 2012 and was sentenced to life in prison.

The state on Thursday called Bernard Presha, the father of Nicholas, who said he saw his son off to bed for the night but later discovered that his son just made it appear that he was in bed.  Bernard Presha then reported his son missing, and the teens' bodies were later found burned along the trail.

Later Thursday morning, Jonathan Tischer, an inmate and friend of Rodriguez and Davis, told jurors that the duo robbed Presha and Stewart of guns they were trying to sell.

Tischer said he was there during the robbery but left afterward.

According to Tischer, he met with Rodriguez and Davis the next day and Rodriguez bragged that the teens were no longer a problem.

"He told me he shot them execution-style," Tischer testified.

The defense, however, said Rodriguez was innocent, pointing the finger instead at Tischer, who answered, "Definitely not," when he was asked if he shot the teens.

On Wednesday, opening statements were presented.

"There will be no question that the two individuals that did accomplish this heinous crime are Jesse Davis and Hector Rodriguez," prosecutor Ken Lewis said.

The state called Jamie O'Neal, a middle school teacher, to the stand and questioned her about finding the bodies along the trail. O'Neal said she and her friends saw fire and thought the bodies could have been mannequins.

Jurors were then shown graphic photos of the crime scene, and an investigator also testified about the process of preserving evidence.

Davis was recently moved back to the Orange County Jail from prison, a result of a court order that could mean Davis will testify at the trial.

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