Pedro Bravo's murder trial starts Monday, two years after UF student's death


Published: Saturday, August 2, 2014 at 11:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 2, 2014 at 11:18 p.m.

The trial of Pedro Bravo, accused of killing 18-year-old University of Florida student Christian Aguilar in 2012, is scheduled to begin Monday, nearly two years after Aguilar's death.

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Pedro Andres Bravo

Alachua County jail

Bravo, a 20-year-old former Santa Fe College student, is accused of kidnapping and killing Aguilar in September 2012.

The young men, both from the Miami area, had gone to school together at the Doral Academy.

Aguilar was last seen walking into the Best Buy on Archer Road with Bravo before he was first reported missing on Sept. 20, 2012.

Police said Bravo drove Aguilar to Best Buy to purchase the latest Kanye West CD. Aguilar was a college freshman at the time, studying biomedical engineering.

Four days after Aguilar disappeared, the Gainesville Police Department arrested Bravo on the basis of evidence developed during the course of the investigation.

Aguilar's disappearance sparked a massive search by law enforcement and volunteers from across the state who scoured the area for signs of him.

In the end, a pair of hunters found Aguilar's body in October 2012 partially buried in a rural part of Levy County.

Bravo faces seven charges, which include homicide, kidnapping, poisoning, making a false report, obstructing a criminal investigation, destroying evidence and mishandling human remains.

Jury selection will begin first thing Monday morning, said Darry Lloyd, spokesman for the State Attorney's Office.

"We are thoroughly ready to present our case," Lloyd said.

Bravo's attorney, Michael Ruppert, said in July that he still had a few depositions to file but would be ready in time for the start of the trial.

Prosecutors aren't seeking the death penalty against Bravo, Lloyd said. Bravo could face, however, life in prison without parole.

Circuit Judge James M. Colaw was assigned to the Bravo trial, replacing Judge Ysleta McDonald, who retired at the end of June.

The change in judges raised concerns about a potential delay in the trial, but it's scheduled to start on time and is expected to last two weeks.

At a pretrial conference in July, Assistant State Attorney Brian Kramer said he was ready for the trial, as was his staff. The prosecution expects to use about 450 physical pieces of evidence as well as 1,500 photographs during the proceedings.

Contact Morgan Watkins at 338-3104 or morgan.watkins@gainesville.com.

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