Trial for Pedro Bravo in Aguilar slaying scheduled for Aug. 4


The entrance of Parker Boulevard off State Road 24 near Cedar Key where the remains of missing UF student Christian Aguilar, at top, were found. Pedro Bravo, at bottom, has been charged with his murder.

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Published: Friday, January 31, 2014 at 5:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 31, 2014 at 5:29 p.m.

Almost a year and a half after his arrest in the disappearance and slaying of his friend, Pedro Bravo will have his day in court late this summer.

Bravo, the 20-year-old former Santa Fe College student and Miami native accused of kidnapping and killing University of Florida freshman Christian Aguilar in 2012, will go to trial Aug. 4, State Attorney's Office spokesman Darry Lloyd said Friday.

Alachua County Judge Ysleta W. McDonald held a hearing with Brian Kramer, assistant state attorney, and Michael Ruppert, Bravo's defense attorney, on Friday at the Alachua County Courthouse, where they agreed on the trial date and scheduled a pretrial conference for July 16, Lloyd said.

"Now there's a concrete date for a trial; everybody will be moving toward that, which is a good thing," Lloyd said, adding that he expects the trial to last about two weeks.

Bravo faces first-degree murder and kidnapping charges, among other felonies, according to court records.

State Attorney Bill Cervone and prosecutors will not seek the death penalty against Bravo, Lloyd said. If Bravo is convicted of murder, under Florida law, he could face life in prison without parole.

Aguilar, 18, was last seen alive on Sept. 20, 2012, walking with Bravo into the Best Buy store off Southwest Archer Road.

Four days later, in the midst of a city-wide search and with no body yet recovered, the Gainesville Police Department named Bravo a suspect and arrested him.

Less than a month later, two hunters found Aguilar's half-buried corpse in a hunting area about six miles west of Otter Creek in Levy County.

Since his arrest, Bravo has appeared in court more than a half-dozen times for case management hearings. He remains in custody at the Alachua County jail.

In Bravo's recent hearing on Jan. 14, Ruppert updated McDonald and prosecutors on his progress in taking depositions from more than 100 witnesses in the case.

After Friday's hearing, Ruppert will need to submit a list of witnesses, primarily of experts, to the court by May 15, Lloyd said.

Ruppert had not returned phone calls seeking comment by late Friday.

Bravo is scheduled to appear in court for another hearing Feb. 18, according to court records. However, Lloyd said that hearing might now be canceled.

With a trial set almost two years after his son's slaying, Carlos Aguilar, 46, said he plans to schedule time off work and decide how he'll bring his family to Gainesville to attend the trial.

"For me, this was excellent news," he said. "At least when we get to two years (after Christian's death), we will know the results."

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