A Florida jury found a college student guilty of killing his friend out of what prosecutors said was jealousy over an ex-girlfriend.
Jurors found Pedro Bravo guilty of first-degree murder and six other counts in the death of Christian Aguilar. They deliberated just shy of four hours.
Some jurors cried as the verdict was read. Bravo, 20, appeared to show no emotion. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Bravo was accused of killing Aguilar, 18, after taking him for a drive one night in September 2012 to discuss Aguilar's relationship with Bravo's ex-girlfriend, Erika Friman. Bravo and Aguilar had been friends, but Bravo was "crushed" to learn that Aguilar and Friman were dating.
Prosecutors alleged Bravo poisoned and beat Aguilar, then hid his body. Surveillance footage showed Bravo buying a shovel, duct tape, bandages and over-the-counter sleep aids the night before Aguilar went missing.
Bravo claimed that he and Aguilar only got in a physical fight that night.
In police interrogation tapes played in court, Bravo admitted to police that he met Aguilar on the night of his death.
“He got out of the car and I fought him and after that, I remember going in the car and I remember seeing him in my rearview mirror while I was driving away,” Bravo said during the interrogation.
Prosecutors agree that Bravo drove away, but they allege that he did so with Aguilar’s body in the back of his SUV, later stashing it in a remote field.
Aguilar's body was found 22 days later in a forest.
Prosecutors also revealed a photograph in court of the belt they said Bravo used to kill Aguilar. Authorities also focused on a sketch pad they said Bravo filled with hate-filled messages.
“No one will stop me,” he wrote in one passage, prosecutors allege. “I will get out of Miami and into Gainesville by January 2013 and I will get her back.”
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story reported Erika Friman’s testimony that she arranged a meeting between Pedro Bravo and Christian Aguilar after Bravo threatened suicide. While Friman said she had arranged for the two to meet in the past, she says she did not arrange their meeting on the night Aguilar was last seen alive.