BROOKSVILLE — Sitting alone in an interrogation room two years ago, Steven Wesolek laid his head on a table.
"I had everything I ever wanted," he mumbled to himself. "It's all gone now."
A two-finger ring inscribed with the word "Enrique" hung from the end of a gold chain that dangled from Wesolek's neck. Moments earlier, he had explained to Hernando County sheriff's Detective Randy Williamson how he had stabbed and killed Enrique "Ricky" Acevedo during a carjacking the day before.
Acevedo's grandfather, for whom he was named, had given him the ring when he was a boy. Wesolek, now 21, told Williamson he took the piece of jewelry so he would remember that day.
"I want to be able to live with it," he said. "I want to be able to know what the f--- I did."
Prosecutor Pete Magrino played a portion of Wesolek's June 20, 2010, recorded confession to the court on Friday. Wesolek's public defender, Alan Fanter, argued that the statement should be suppressed because it had been illegally coerced. Judge Daniel Merritt Sr. denied the motion.
Because the interview was admitted into evidence, the complete conversation was made public for the first time.
That summer day two years ago, authorities say, 18-year-old Acevedo did his friend a favor. Skyler Collins, then also 18, had just gotten a call from Wesolek, her ex-boyfriend, asking Collins if she would give him and his friends a ride. Acevedo wouldn't let her go alone, so he drove her to Emerson Road south of Brooksville to pick up Wesolek, Sherrie Dicus, now 40, and her daughter, Sabrina Dicus, now 16.
After the three got into Collins' red 2001 Ford Mustang convertible, reports say, Wesolek stabbed Acevedo while Sherrie Dicus choked Collins until she passed out. 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, south of Brooksville. Collins had ligature marks on her neck and was later treated at a hospital.
As the car sped away, Acevedo died on the side of the road.
Wesolek, for the first two hours of the interview, insisted to Williamson that he wasn't the killer. That he had done nothing wrong. That he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time with bad people.
Wesolek cried and prayed and talked about the Bible. He recalled cleaning the blood from the Mustang. It gave him flashbacks, he said, of the blade plunging into Wesolek.
"Should never have to watch a man sit there and die in front of you," he said. "It's only something a d--- cold-blooded killer would do."
Then, finally, Wesolek confessed.
Sherrie Dicus, he said, had given him the knife and then talked him into it. She told him to scare Acevedo with it, to force him out of the car.
Wesolek didn't intend to stab him, Wesolek told the investigator. It was an accident. After the first cut, Acevedo started flailing.
"I don't blame him," he said. "I didn't mean to."
A medical examiner determined Acevedo had been stabbed in the neck, head, back and shoulder three times.
Wesolek still gripped the knife as he drove away. He told Williamson he had considered committing suicide right then because of what he had done.
Then why, Williamson asked, did he do it?
Wesolek and the Dicuses were desperate, he said. They were homeless and hadn't eaten for three days. They had planned to steal the car and flee to Ohio. To start a new life.
Also, he said, Sherrie Dicus had used her daughter, Sabrina, to manipulate him. He was in love with her and, if he had to, would die for her. Moving away, he thought, would give her a better life.
At that time, Wesolek was 19. Sabrina Dicus was 13.
"I fell in love with who she was," he said. "Not with her age."
In court, Acevedo's family watched from the second row. His parents, Danny and Carmen, squeezed each other's hands when Wesolek was marched in the room. As deputies removed his shackles, he grinned.
"It showed me he had no remorse," Danny Acevedo said after the hearing. "It was gut-wrenching."
Wesolek took notes through much of the proceedings. His face was shaved and his hair cut short; he wore an orange jail-issued jumpsuit. A single word was tattooed to the back of his left hand.
John Woodrow Cox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1432.