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In change, prosecutors won't seek death penalty in Hernando County murder case

BROOKSVILLE — An official with the State Attorney's Office announced Friday that prosecutors would not seek the death penalty against a woman accused of murder and attempted murder.

The suspect, Sherrie Dicus, 39, was not present to hear the announcement in Circuit Judge Stephen Rushing's courtroom.

Along with her daughter Sabrina Dicus, 15, and Steven Wesolek, 20, Sherrie Dicus is accused of murdering Enrique Daniel Acevedo, 18, and attempting to murder his girlfriend, Skyler Collins, then also 18. Prosecutors had initially announced they would seek the death penalty for both Sherrie Dicus and Wesolek.

According to arrest affidavits, Acevedo and Collins drove to Emerson Road south of Brooksville on June 20 to pick up Wesolek, who is Collins' ex-boyfriend, and two of his friends.

After the three got into Collins' red 2001 Ford Mustang convertible, Acevedo was stabbed twice in the back of the neck and Collins was choked until she lost consciousness. Collins regained consciousness when Acevedo slammed on the brakes, and the couple stumbled out of the car near the intersection of Ayers and Culbreath roads.

Acevedo died on the side of the road as the car drove away. Collins had ligature marks on her neck and was treated at a hospital for her injuries.

In other court news Friday:

• Edwin Rosado pleaded no contest to a host of charges that included nine counts of sexual battery against a child. He accepted a plea deal and was sentenced to 20 years in prison and 10 years probation.

• Michael James Pugh Jr., 34, also agreed to a deal before Rushing, pleading guilty to felony charges of sexual activity with a minor and interference with child custody. He received 24 months in prison and five years of probation.

On April 22, a then-17-year-old girl was reported missing to New Port Richey police. Days later, authorities say, the girl's brother learned she was staying with Lisa Messer, then 20, at Pugh's Rusk Circle home.

The brother went to Pugh's home and asked Messer where his sister was. Although Messer said she didn't know, the teen soon emerged from hiding in a closet and left with her brother.

A Hernando County Sheriff's Office report said Messer told the brother that Pugh had videotaped sexual encounters between himself and the girl on a webcam and had taken still photos as well. The brother told Pugh to remove the images from his computer. Pugh showed the brother a video of himself having sex with the girl and asked, "Do you want me to delete the (still) pictures, too?"

The girl told deputies that she had run away from her mother, the report said. She said that after Messer and Pugh picked her up in New Port Richey, they returned to Pugh's home and she shut off her cell phone so her family could not track her.

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

In change, prosecutors won't seek death penalty in Hernando County murder case 03/11/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 11, 2011 6:46pm]
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