-- The Florida college student accused of killing his friend out of jealousy over an ex-girlfriend had searched the Internet for information about unsolved murders, chloroform, sleeping pills and alibis, he said in court today.
As he was cross-examined by prosecutors in his murder trial today, Pedro Bravo told jurors he had searched for all those terms in the days before he got into a physical fight with his friend, Christian Aguilar, who was later found dead in a forest.
Bravo is accused of killing Aguilar 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 allege Bravo poisoned and beat Aguilar, then hid his body. Bravo has pleaded not guilty and claims that he and Aguilar got in a physical fight only that night. Aguilar's body was found 22 days later in a forest.
During cross-examination, Bravo admitted that he turned off his cellphone, drove away from campus, and got in a fight with Aguilar. Aguilar's blood and vomit where then found in the back of Bravo's car, which Bravo took to get washed at 2 a.m. before doing laundry for the clothes he was wearing at 3 a.m., he admitted in cross-examination today.
Prosecutors displayed written entries from a sketch pad that described Bravo's plans for having someone use his debit card to make purchases as a form of alibi, as well as other plans they allege were about the killing.
Bravo's attorneys, meanwhile, displayed a suicide note in court in support of their argument that Bravo was only with Aguilar that night to discuss suicide before the pair got in a fight.
“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 told police during an interrogation, according to a recording of the interview played in court.
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.
Bravo also addressed the claim that he had asked the iPhone application Siri for help in hiding a victim's body. The prosecution had displayed for the jury a grab from Bravo's iPhone that asked Siri, "I need to hide my roommate."
The grab showed a supposed response from Siri that replied, "What kind of place are you looking for?" and listed swamps, reservoirs, metal foundries and dumps.
Bravo said that the image was not a grab from the Siri app on his phone, but rather an image from a joke website that he visited. The image was actually making fun of Siri's odd responses to inquiries, he said, and the image had cached on his phone. Earlier, police Det. Matt Goeckel had conceded that Bravo's iPhone did not have Siri capability and that the image was a cached photo.
Several news outlets, including ABC News, initially reported that the prosecution contended that Bravo had asked Siri for help in deciding where to hide a body. The Gainesville Police Department tweeted Wednesday that "GPD Det. Goeckel certainly did not testify to that."
Both side are expected to make closing arguments Friday and the jury is expected to get the case later that day.