Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Accused man sent letters from Hernando jail to murder victim's family, court is told


Twice, Steven Wesolek has sent letters from jail to the family of the young man he's accused of killing.

With Wesolek standing handcuffed in an orange jumpsuit Thursday morning, Danny and Carmen Acevedo clutched hands and stared at the man charged with killing their son, Enrique Daniel Acevedo.

"It's unnerving to the victims," prosecutor Pete Magrino told Judge Daniel Merritt Sr.

His voice rising, Magrino told the court he intended to ensure Wesolek received a "premature death through legal, lawful means."

"Yes!" Mrs. Acevedo, sobbing, declared into a packed but otherwise silent courtroom.

Along with Wesolek, Sherri Dicus, 39, and her daughter, 15-year-old Sabrina Dicus, are accused of murdering Acevedo, 18, and attempting to murder his friend, Skyler Collins, then also 18. Wesolek's next pretrial hearing is this summer.

According to arrest affidavits, Acevedo and Collins drove to Emerson Road south of Brooksville on June 20 to pick up Wesolek, who is Collins' ex-boyfriend, and two of his friends.

After the three got into Collins' red 2001 Ford Mustang convertible, Acevedo was stabbed twice in the back of the neck and Collins was choked until she lost consciousness. Collins regained consciousness when Acevedo slammed on the brakes, and the two stumbled out of the car near the intersection of Ayers and Culbreath roads.

Acevedo died on the side of the road as the car drove away. Collins had ligature marks on her neck and was treated at a hospital for her injuries.

After the Acevedos received the first letter, one of the couple's daughters read it. Not once, Mrs. Acevedo said, did Wesolek confess or apologize.

The second letter arrived early this month while Mr. and Mrs. Acevedo were out of town. After hearing about it, they came straight home, outraged.

"He's supposed to be a prisoner," she told the St. Petersburg Times in a recent interview. "And I feel like a prisoner in my own home."

Hernando County sheriff's deputies took the envelope to check it for fingerprints, she said. Authorities told her they suspected Wesolek might have gotten the letters out of jail through the help of another inmate.

In court, Merritt asked the slight, red-headed 20-year-old if he knew he wasn't allowed to contact the Acevedos.

"Yes, sir," he answered.

"Are you going to do it any more?" the judge asked.

"No, sir."

Wesolek stumbled through a disjointed explanation before he stopped. The judge asked to be notified if the prisoner ever again attempted to contact the family.

John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or

Accused man sent letters from Hernando jail to murder victim's family, court is told 05/19/11 [Last modified: Thursday, May 19, 2011 7:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trigaux: For Class of 2016, college debt loads favor Florida graduates


    Florida college graduates saddled with student debt: Take heart. The average debt Class of 2016 Florida grads must bear is less than students in most states.

    University of South Florida undergraduates gather at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa for last fall's commencement ceremony. A new survey finds their average student debt upon graduating was $22,276. Statewide, 2016 Florida grads ranked a relatively unencumbered 45th among states, averaging $24,461 in student debt. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  2. Romano: One person, one vote is not really accurate when it comes to Florida


    Imagine this:

    Your mail-in ballot for the St. Petersburg mayoral election has just arrived. According to the fine print, if you live on the west side of the city, your ballot will count as one vote. Meanwhile, a ballot in St. Pete's northeast section counts for three votes.

    Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections worker Andrea West adds mail ballots to an inserter Sept. 22 at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Service Center in Largo. (SCOTT KEELER   |   Times)
  3. St. Petersburg will hold first budget hearing tonight

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Sunshine City's new property tax rate looks exactly like its current rate. For the second year in a row, Mayor Rick Kriseman does not plan to ask City Council for a tax hike or a tax cut.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman talks about the state of the city on Tuesday, two days after Hiurricane Irma passed through the state. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  4. 'We were lucky': Zephyrhills, Dade City get back to normal after Irma


    Two weeks after Hurricane Irma struck Florida, residents and city officials in eastern Pasco — hit harder than other areas of the county — are moving forward to regain normalcy.

    Edward F. Wood, 70, tugs at a branch to unload a pile of debris he and his wife picked up in their neighborhood, Lakeview in the Hills in Dade City.