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Man accused in Avila killings to be held without bail

TAMPA — The man accused of killing Hector and Debra Rivera in their Avila home Monday will be held without bail, authorities decided Thursday.

Though that had been prosecutors' wish from the start, it was the public defender's office that moved the agreement forward Thursday — a move prompted by seven pages of allegations that place Julian Ospina-Florez at the murder scene with blood-soaked socks and a loaded gun.

Though he faced two counts of first-degree murder, Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Walter Heinrich wasn't ready to deny Ospina-Florez bail at his first appearance Wednesday. The case was too circumstantial, the judge said.

So prosecutors pulled together a motion, listing some of deputies' evidence. In it, they stated that Ospina-Florez had ammunition in his car that matched the spent casings at the scene and that the gun was registered to him.

The motion was expected to be considered in court Friday.

But after reading over the motion and talking with accused shooter Julian Ospina-Florez, public defender Charles Traina said he'd agree with the state's request that bail be denied.

He asked the judge to cancel Friday's hearing.

And Heinrich agreed because of the facts in the motion, which he said "were substantial, that's for sure."

Ospina-Florez is accused of gunning down the Riveras after returning from a trade show in Sarasota with Debra Rivera, his employer.

For the past year, he had been Debra Rivera's driver and had assisted her with her jewelry and accessories business. Just days before the shooting, deputies say, she accused him and others of stealing $30,000 worth of merchandise.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3433.

Man accused in Avila killings to be held without bail 01/12/12 [Last modified: Thursday, January 12, 2012 6:17pm]
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