Opening statements heard in Cady Way Trail murder trial

Published On: Jul 24 2013 10:19:41 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 24 2013 06:33:19 PM EDT

Opening statements are presented in the murder trial of a man charged in the deaths of two Winter Park High School teens.


Opening statements were presented Wednesday in the murder trial of a man charged in the deaths of two Winter Park High School teens who were slain on the Cady Way Trail.

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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 on Friday 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.

"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 Wednesday during opening statements.

The state then called Jamie O'Neal, a middle school teacher, to the stand and questioned her about finding the bodies along the Cady Way 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 where the bodies of the two teens were found. A crime scene 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.

The teens' bodies were found burned along the trail.

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