Sex rumor led to fatal stabbing in Apopka, deputies say

Victim says 3 suspects jumped her

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

APOPKA, Fla. - A fight about a sexual encounter rumor led to an attack that resulted in a victim fatally stabbing one of the suspects, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said Stephen Trimble; his girlfriend, Nikkela Mitchel; and Hope Garcia went to Trimble's ex-girlfriend's home on South Central Avenue Sunday morning to confront her about a month-old rumor that the victim had sought a sexual encounter with Trimble and Mitchel.

The victim said she was sleeping around 8 a.m. when she heard a knock on the door and saw the three suspects outside, who said they wanted to quash the rumor. She let them inside so they could discuss it and led them to her room. The two women immediately attacked her, the report said.

"As soon as I got to my room, they jumped me," the victim said, according to documents.

Trimble filmed and egged the attackers on, authorities said.

The victim said she tried to fight off both women as they attacked her and deployed a stun gun on her, according to investigators. 

Deputies said Garcia grabbed a 4-inch kitchen knife that was in the victim's room and began trying to stab her, ultimately cutting the victim's hand.

The victim then noticed a butcher knife nearby so she grabbed it and attempted to get up but Garcia kicked her in the stomach so she would stay on the floor, records show. Garcia then took a step back when she noticed the victim was holding the knife.

That's when Trimble began to mock her.

"Oh because she got a knife, you scared now," Trimble said before pushing Garcia toward the victim, according to the report.

Deputies said the victim was still on the floor when she blindly pushed the knife out in front of her, which resulted in Garcia being stabbed. The victim didn't know where she stabbed Garcia but believed it was near her rib cage.

Trimble grabbed the victim from the floor and put her in a choke hold. The victim was able to escape and run to a neighbor's house with the knife still in her hand, authorities said.

The neighbor wouldn't open the door because the victim was armed. She said she saw Trimble try to attack the victim on her front porch, telling her, "Come with me, just come with me now or I'm gonna kill you," according to the report.

The witness said the victim looked terrified and "scared for her life."

The victim tried to render aid to Garcia, who collapsed near a stop sign. Garcia died at a hospital as a result of hemorrhagic shock, transection of axillary artery and vein and a stab wound to her upper left arm.

Deputies said the victim acted in self-defense and is not currently facing charges.

A stun gun and both knives were found in her bedroom, along with obvious signs of a struggle. Deputies said the victim had the kitchen knives and all of her other belongings in her bedroom because she lives in a communal household and doesn't want anything to get stolen.

Trimble and Mitchel fled after the attack, according to authorities. Deputies announced their arrests on Thursday.

They are both facing charges of second-degree felony murder and burglary to an occupied dwelling with battery therein. 

At a court hearing on Thursday, prosecutors fought for no bond for the suspects. 

A defense attorney questioned if neighbors saw the entire thing and could serve as true witnesses, claiming the only real witness was a neighbor who only saw part of the incident. The two suspects were appointed a public defender.  

A judge ordered the suspects not to have any contact with the victim's family and they can't possess any drugs or guns. 

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