Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Woman, daughter sentenced to prison for their part in Hernando murder

BROOKSVILLE — Carmen Acevedo sat on the witness stand Monday and looked straight at Sherrie Dicus, the woman who helped kill Acevedo's son.

Acevedo knew Dicus's attorney was about to ask the judge to have mercy on the 40-year-old woman who took part in a deadly carjacking two summers ago.

"What leniency did you have for my son? You left him there by the side of the road," Acevedo said, as Dicus sat trembling and staring at her lap. "I just hope that you don't see daylight anymore."

"Think really hard," she added, "about what you also did to your daughter."

Moments later, Hernando Circuit Judge Daniel B. Merritt Sr. sentenced Dicus to life in prison, the maximum allowed as part of a plea deal.

During another hearing immediately afterward, Merritt sentenced Dicus' 17-year-old daughter, Sabrina, to 10 years behind bars for her role in the killing.

During both hearings, the Dicuses' attorney, family members and a forensic psychologist told Merritt how a mother passed on a dysfunctional life to her daughter.

In June 2010, the Dicuses were living in a tent in the woods south of Brooksville with Sabrina's boyfriend, Steven Wesolek. He was 19; she was 14. The three were homeless and hadn't eaten for days, Wesolek told an investigator. They had planned to steal a car, flee the state and start a new life.

So, on June 20, Wesolek called his former girlfriend Skyler Collins and asked if she could give him and his friends a ride. She agreed, but her friend Enrique "Ricky" Acevedo, 18, 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 quiet 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.

Acevedo collapsed, stopped breathing and died on the pavement. A medical examiner determined he'd been stabbed in the neck, head, back and shoulder.

Wesolek confessed to the killing, then later changed his story, saying the Dicuses had used him and he'd lied to protect Sabrina, the real killer. A jury found him guilty of first-degree murder in May, and Merritt sentenced him to life in prison, sparing him the death penalty.

The Dicuses were also charged with first-degree murder, attempted felony murder, carjacking and armed robbery.

Sherrie Dicus's parents divorced when she was 9, and her mother kicked her out about six years later, said Tampa psychologist Larry Krop, testifying for the defense.

Sherrie Dicus went to live with her father, who sexually abused her. She used sharp objects in self-mutilation and was an alcoholic by high school, Krop said. Dicus started using methamphetamine with her husband around 2000 and remained addicted to the drug as they raised Sabrina and her older sister.

She now suffers from cognitive and mood disorders, Krop said.

"I can't say one thing contributed to her actions, but certainly I think these were in play and should be considered when trying to understand who Mrs. Dicus is," he said.

Sherrie Dicus had considered going to trial. Instead, she agreed to an open plea to second-degree murder, among other charges, so her daughter wouldn't have to testify, Krop said. Sabrina had already pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for her cooperation.

Defense attorney Michelle Ortiz asked Merritt to "temper punishment with compassion" by sentencing Sherrie Dicus to the minimum 30 years.

Merritt was not swayed.

"Many people have a similar type of background to what Mrs. Dicus has and have become productive citizens," the judge said. "Very few turn to murder or attempted murder."

Sabrina Dicus and her sister spent their childhood shuttling between her parents in Florida and grandparents in upstate New York.

While here, the girls spent nights in abandoned cars, under a bridge and behind a Dumpster, Sabrina testified. Her attorney said she had no idea Wesolek was going to kill Acevedo.

"I just want to tell the family I'm sorry, and I never wanted anything to happen," she said through tears. "I tried to do everything I could to help this case. I just want to move on and have a better life."

On the way to the witness stand for a second time, Carmen Acevedo asked if she could give Sabrina a hug. Prosecutor Pete Magrino whispered in her ear for a moment, and she continued to the stand.

"A hug means so much to a child, and obviously you didn't get enough," Acevedo said. "Maybe in your future, when you do get out, you can be part of society. For now, you need to do your time."

Woman, daughter sentenced to prison for their part in Hernando murder 10/22/12 [Last modified: Monday, October 22, 2012 10:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

    Blogs

    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  2. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  3. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  4. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  5. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]