Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Victims describe attack that cost them vision in Hernando trial

BROOKSVILLE — The two friends described in precise, graphic detail Wednesday injuries they said they suffered during a brutal pistol-whipping at a Spring Hill park.

"Twice on this side, once on this side," testified 17-year-old Domenic Musicaro, who went blind in his right eye. "Right, left right."

Kevin Strickland, 31, said that a single blow from Christian Rivera, the man accused of wielding the handgun, shattered his skull and destroyed his peripheral vision.

Rivera, 21, is on trial on three felony charges: two counts of aggravated assault with a handgun and one count of attempted robbery with a handgun.

"Blindness is not something that just goes away after a while," Musicaro's mother, Antoinette, said. "This is something we'll deal with for his entire life."

Musicaro and Strickland had just finished a game of Amtgard, a role-playing combat game involving foam weapons, when a barrage of paintballs struck their belongings at Amity Trails Park in Spring Hill.

Strickland said he yelled profanities, but not threats, in the direction the paintballs had come before Rivera hopped out of a car and pulled a gun on Musicaro.

"I didn't know what to do when we saw the gun," said Anthony Roberts Jr., who left the car with Rivera. "I was sitting there stuck. My mind was blown."

Roberts and 18-year-old Colin Mackiewicz, who drove the car Rivera rode in, said they saw Rivera thrust the gun in Musicaro's face and demand that he "run his pockets."

They said Rivera struck Strickland once then hit Musicaro three times.

Witness Daniel Murray, who said in a January 2009 interview that Rivera had a gun, retracted his statement on Wednesday. He said Rivera had no gun and struck the two with his bare hands.

Murray, however, also denied twice having ever been arrested for a felony. He is in the Hernando County Jail on felony charges of arson and burglary.

Rivera still faces a separate charge of aggravated battery with great bodily harm after a brawl last year in the county jail. Fellow inmate Raymond Dawson suffered a broken nose and cheekbone in the fight.

Rivera has not decided whether he will testify in his own defense today. Public defender Mike Amico said three or four witnesses will testify.

Victims describe attack that cost them vision in Hernando trial 06/09/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 8:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs-Bills journal: Breakout game for Bucs tight end O.J. Howard


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It's obscured by the final score and a disappointing loss, but Bucs rookie tight end O.J. Howard had a breakout game Sunday, exceeding his season totals for catches and touchdowns in one afternoon.

    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard (80) celebrates a touchdown catch with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  2. Vladislav Namestnikov is Lightning's top-line 'secret'

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Nikita Kucherov is piling up the goals. Steven Stamkos is an assist machine. They make for an impressive pairing in a league that favors scoring pairs over the more traditional three-player scoring lines.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Vladislav Namestnikov (90) reacts after scoring during the third period of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017.
  3. Bucs-Bills report card: Grading the Bucs' 30-27 loss at Buffalo


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Hard to believe, but this was only the second time in their history that the Bucs played a regular-season game in Buffalo. After Sunday loss, they wouldn't mind going another 40 years without playing here again.

    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, seen during the first half, had a heck of a day calling plays, Tom Jones writes. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Passing motorists pull three from burning home in Tampa


    TAMPA — Two men in a passing car rescued two children and a woman from a burning home late Sunday morning.

  5. Bucs-Bills: Social media reactions to the Bucs' 30-27 loss


    Here's a sampling of reactions from the media and fans to the Bucs' 30-27 loss Sunday at Buffalo:

    Buffalo Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka (4) is mobbed by teammates after kicking the game-winning field goal late in the fourth quarter. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]