Sunday, April 22, 2018
News Roundup

Jury finds Steven Wesolek guilty of murder in 2010 Hernando stabbing

BROOKSVILLE — Carmen Acevedo's bare feet bounced against the blue-checkered courtroom carpet. Her husband, Danny, leaned his head back and closed his eyes. His left hand clutched her right, pressing a tear-soaked tissue between their palms.

For 22 months, they had waited to hear a single word. The Acevedos had imagined hearing it so many times, but dreaded they never would.

Then, in a Hernando County courtroom just before 5 p.m. Friday, they did.

Guilty.

Their 18-year-old son, Enrique "Ricky" Acevedo, was stabbed to death in a carjacking two years ago. A 12-person jury concluded in just more than four hours that Steven Wesolek was his killer. Those same people will decide next week if he should die for his crime.

"Honey, Ricky is with us," Danny whispered to his wife. "And justice has been served."

"I know," said Carmen, trembling. "I know."

Wesolek, sitting a few feet away, closed his eyes and gripped the defense table with his right hand. The 21-year-old was convicted on all four counts brought against him: first-degree murder, attempted felony murder, carjacking with a weapon and robbery with a weapon.

In June 2010, Wesolek was living in a tent with his girlfriend, Sabrina Dicus, and her mother, Sherrie Dicus.

The three were desperate, he later told an investigator. They were homeless and hadn't eaten for days. They had planned to steal a car, flee the state and start a new life.

So, Wesolek called his former girlfriend, Skyler Collins, and asked if she could give him and his friends a ride. She agreed, but Acevedo, her friend, wouldn't let her go alone.

He drove, and Collins rode in the passenger seat. Wesolek and the Dicuses squeezed into the back. As they approached a solitary intersection south of Brooksville, authorities 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.

He collapsed, stopped breathing and died on the pavement.

All three suspects were caught in less than a day. At the time, a two-finger ring inscribed with the word "Enrique" hung from the end of a gold chain that dangled from Wesolek's neck. Ricky's grandfather, for whom he was named, had given him the ring when he was a boy.

In a recorded interview hours later, Wesolek admitted to the murder and said he kept the ring so he could live with the killing. So he could remember what he did.

He has since changed his story, insisting he confessed only to protect the girl he loved, Sabrina Dicus, who he now says was the real killer.

She was 14 at the time. He was 19.

Wesolek seemed confident, even cocky at times this week.

He laughed and told jokes with deputies. He shook his head and rolled his eyes as witnesses gave their testimony. He even told one bailiff he was a "mirage" and would soon "Houdini outta here."

He testified in his own defense Thursday afternoon. He told jurors that he harmed no one that day two years ago. That the Dicuses had just used him. That he was a victim, too.

Later Thursday evening, as Wesolek left the courtroom, he glanced at prosecutor Pete Magrino and grinned.

"I'll tell you what, Mr. Magrino," Wesolek said. "When I come back in five years and win my appeal, I'll buy you lunch."

"Don't talk to me," the prosecutor replied.

Wesolek, wearing a sagging dark gray suit, shuffled past Magrino again on Friday, moments after his conviction. His hands and feet shackled, the defendant's mouth hung open and his eyes wandered the floor.

He said nothing.

Times photojournalist Will Vragovic contributed to this report. John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or [email protected]

Comments
Rays’ Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

Rays’ Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

ST. PETERSBURG – Carlos Gomez was in such a horrific slump, after one of his three strikeouts Sunday, he broke his bat over his knee. Then he broke the Twins' hearts.Gomez ripped a long two-run home run to leftfield with no one out in the botto...
Updated: 1 hour ago
4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A nearly naked gunman wearing only a green jacket and brandishing an assault rifle stormed a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville early Sunday, shooting four people to death before a customer rushed him and wrestled the weapo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies: Florida man on LSD knocks out teen girl at RaceTrac while her parent pumps gas

Deputies: Florida man on LSD knocks out teen girl at RaceTrac while her parent pumps gas

ST. PETERSBURG — A man punched a 13-year-old girl inside a RaceTrac convenience store Saturday, knocking her unconscious as her parent pumped gas outside, Pinellas deputies reported.Kolbe Wayne Smith, 27, of St. Petersburg now faces charges of aggrav...
Updated: 1 hour ago
District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

Class 9A-8 (higher seed hosts)Tuesday: No. 3 Alonso at No. 2 Palm Harbor University, 4; No. 4 Sarasota Riverview at No. 1 Newsome, 7Thursday: Final, 4 or 7 (depending on who hosts)Class 8A-4 at Strawberry Crest Tuesday: No. 1 Wharton vs. No. 4 Wiregr...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Police investigating fatal hit-and-run on Selmon Expressway

Tampa Police investigating fatal hit-and-run on Selmon Expressway

TAMPA — Police say a person is dead after a hit-and-run crash Sunday on the Selmon Expressway.Someone called authorities about 10 a.m., reporting a person on the entrance ramp to the highway near the intersection of W Cleveland Street and S Willow Av...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

TAMPA — As usual, Andrei Vasilevskiy didn't speak in front of the cameras after the game. He has been like that since he hit the NHL. He still isn't comfortable with his English on TV.But Vasilevskiy spoke loudly and clearly in the first-round ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

TAMPA — The buzz at the top of this year's NFL draft is a class of talented quarterbacks deep enough to challenge the all-time record of six in the first round, set in 1983 with a group that included future Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
It’s Earth Day. Here are 11 stories about how climate change affects Florida.

It’s Earth Day. Here are 11 stories about how climate change affects Florida.

Happy Earth Day, Florida!In the spirit of the holiday that recognizes our planet’s clean air, water and land, here are 11 stories the Tampa Bay Times has published about how climate change affects the Sunshine State.1. The Florida keys have to elevat...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely apologizes for ‘joke’ gun photo

Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely apologizes for ‘joke’ gun photo

Former NFL kicker Jay Feely, who was born in Odessa and starred at Tampa Jesuit, has apologized for a photo he intended as a joke, showing him holding a gun as he poses with his daughter and her prom date."Wishing my beautiful daughter and her date a...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finds frustration and fear seeking a safe path for wildlife across Interstate 4

Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finds frustration and fear seeking a safe path for wildlife across Interstate 4

The original Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition in 2012 was inspired by how the Florida black bear roamed — and the space it needed to do so successfully. In 2010, expedition team member Joe Guthrie conducted research through the University of Kent...
Updated: 6 hours ago