He needed a favor.
Devin Nickels, an 18-year-old freshman at Florida State University, had a problem, authorities said. His 17-year-old girlfriend was nearly three months pregnant. Nickels — lanky, glasses, just got his braces off — wanted her to miscarry, authorities said.
According to the Pasco Sheriff's Office, Nickels turned to Andres Marrero, 19, who graduated with him last June from Sunlake High School. Together, the two teenagers concocted a scheme for Marrero — now enrolled at the University of Tampa — to pretend to be an armed robber and to beat up Nickel's girlfriend, hoping she would lose the baby, the Sheriff's Office said.
Neither teen had ever been arrested before, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Now they both have.
Marrero was arrested Thursday in Pasco.
Monday morning, campus police came for Nickels, who is now sitting in the Leon County jail.
The girlfriend survived.
She's still pregnant.
• • •
The attack went down at 1:30 a.m. Jan. 1 outside an apartment complex in New Port Richey. Marrero forced Nickels and the girl into the woods at gunpoint and, when she begged him to not hurt her because she was pregnant, he repeatedly kicked her in the stomach, an arrest report states.
Hours later, Marrero boasted on his Facebook page:
"Damn was last nite fun ass hell. 2011"
The girl — whose name has not been released by the Sheriff's Office — was treated at a hospital. She and the baby appear to be okay, a report states. Sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said the girl is from New Port Richey.
Marrero, of Land O'Lakes, was arrested Thursday and charged with armed kidnapping and aggravated battery on a pregnant female.
He was released from the Pasco jail Saturday on $60,000 bail.
Nickels, of Lutz, was arrested just before 9 a.m. Monday at his dorm room at Salley Hall on the FSU campus. He is charged with solicitation to commit aggravated battery and is currently being held at the Leon County jail, awaiting transfer to Pasco.
• • •
When contacted Tuesday afternoon, Nickels' father, Kelvin Nickels, hadn't yet heard about his son's arrest. He was shocked.
"He's been an outstanding kid all his life," said Kelvin Nickels, who lives in Tampa. "I have no idea where this is coming from."
On his Facebook page, Devin Nickels says he is studying law. Right underneath his religious views — "Christian" with a picture of Jesus cradling a lamb — is Nickels' favorite quote:
"A Bitch Aint Nothin But A Dog Who Aint House Broken"
He offered to pay Marrero $200 for his services, but Marrero refused, said Sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll .
He wanted to do it for free.
Times researcher Shirl Kennedy and reporter Molly Moorhead contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 869-6229.