Man accused of Cocoa motel room stabbing, robbery awaits verdict in murder trial

Brevard jury to continue deliberating Thursday

COCOA, Fla. – A teen hitchhiker accused of stabbing a man to death at a motel is closer to learning his fate four years after police said he killed a 65-year-old Ocala man.

The defendant, Josh Keravuori, looked at a picture of the cut shirt Cocoa police said Terry Hilliard was wearing when Keravuori stabbed him two dozen times in a room at the Dixie Motel.

Attorneys presented closing arguments in the murder trial Wednesday.

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‘’Two people went in and one person came out. So now they knew they were looking for the one person who came out,’’ assistant state attorney Ann Perrin said.

The defense responded that Keravuori, who was 18-years-old on February 6, 2018, was afraid Hilliard was going to rape him in the room.

Surveillance presented Wednesday showed them in the motel lobby and later walking to their room after watching the maiden SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch and drinking.

Hilliard was staggering.

Then inside the room, defense attorney Dennis deVlaming said Hilliard groped Keravuori.

‘’Mr. Keravuori was on his back with a man 50lbs more than he, four inches taller, on him,’’ deVlaming said. ‘’He got him off, at first, but he crawled right back and remounted him.”

The defense argued to jurors that Keravuori stabbed Hilliard as many times as he needed to protect himself.

But prosecutors said then Keravuori robbed Hilliard, taking a shower after the stabbing and leaving the room with Hilliard’s valuables including his car keys.

The defense responded that because Keravuori sat in Hilliard’s car for four minutes before driving away, it showed the teen was in shock over what had just happened and he wasn’t sure what to do next.

Ultimately, prosecutors said Keravuori drove to Miami and got a flight home to Maryland before authorities finally caught him in Georgia.

Jurors began deliberating Wednesday afternoon and are scheduled to continue deliberating a verdict Thursday morning.

About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.