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Key witness recalls confession in Hernando murder trial

BROOKSVILLE — Patricia Borders knew something was wrong.

On the evening of June 20, 2010, a red Ford Mustang convertible she'd never seen pulled into the front yard of her Spring Hill home. Three people stepped out of the car. Borders knew two of them: Sherrie Dicus and her teenage daughter. The third person, the driver, was a stranger named Steven Wesolek.

Mrs. Dicus was a friend, Borders said, but also a thief and a liar. When Borders learned the car was stolen, as she suspected, the woman insisted they remove it from her property.

Wesolek and Mrs. Dicus' daughter, Sabrina, returned to her house on foot later that night. Borders said that's when Wesolek told her how they had gotten the car.

"He said he stabbed someone," Borders testified Wednesday in a Hernando County courtroom. "He said it was an accident."

Wesolek, now 21, is accused of murdering 18-year-old Enrique "Ricky" Acevedo of Spring Hill in a carjacking two years ago. He has been charged with first-degree murder and may face the death penalty if convicted.

Borders is a key witness in the prosecution's case, but her assertion that Wesolek confessed to the crime came under intense scrutiny during public defender Alan Fanter's cross-examination.

In a recorded deposition early last year, Borders was asked if Wesolek had ever told her that he stabbed someone to get the car.

"No, he didn't say that," she responded. "He just said, 'It was an accident.' That's all I can remember them saying. 'It was an accident.' "

Early on the day of the killing, Wesolek had called his former girlfriend, Skyler Collins, and asked if she could give him and the Dicuses a ride. She agreed, but Acevedo, her friend, wouldn't let her go alone. He drove.

After the three got into Collins' Mustang, investigators say, Wesolek stabbed Acevedo while Mrs. 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 and the Dicuses arrived at Borders' house just moments later.

In court, Borders didn't offer a clear explanation for the discrepancy in her statements, but insisted she had never lied.

Fanter pressed harder. He twice asked if she had smoked methamphetamine with Mrs. Dicus the night of the stabbing. She denied it.

Later, during assistant state attorney Pete Magrino's second questioning, he noted that Borders had spoken with a detective just hours after she met Wesolek. The prosecutor asked Borders if she remembered telling the detective that Wesolek had confessed to the murder.

She did.

Was that the truth?

It was.

But again, Fanter challenged her recollection.

On the witness stand, was she still trying to remember what was true and what wasn't?

"No, sir," she said. "I'm telling you the truth now."

John Woodrow Cox can be reached at jcox@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432.

Key witness recalls confession in Hernando murder trial 05/09/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 8:14pm]
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