Cady Way Trail murder suspect rejects plea deal, to stand trial

Cady Way Trail murder suspect rejects plea deal, will stand trial today

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One of two men accused in the killings of two teens whose burned bodies were found on the Cady Way Trail rejected a plea deal and is set to go on trial this morning.

Hector Rodriguez is accused in the killings of Winter Park High students Nicholas Presha, 16, and Jeremy Stewart, 18, whose bodies were found along the popular Orange County biking and walking trail in April 2012.

The scene was so gruesome that a passerby who called 911 wasn't sure whether it was real, telling a dispatcher it might be mannequins that were on fire.

Rodriguez rejected a plea deal Friday that would have seen him out of prison in 30 years. Relatives of the two victims were visibly upset in the Orange County courtroom.

During the court appearance, he got into an argument with his lawyers and asked for new ones.

"We thought we had a plea as of yesterday at 4 p.m., which we advised the state after speaking with Mr. Rodriguez this morning he informed he does not want a plea. He wants to go to trial," one of his attorneys told a judge.

"How old are you sir?" the Judge Alan S. Apte asked Rodriguez.

"32," he replied.

"Do you understand that under the plea offer by the state, you would be released from prison before you reach the age of 65?"

Rodriguez tried to fire his attorneys, claiming they weren't doing their job. He told the judge he has not understood what was going on in court until Friday, when he had an interpreter translate for him.

Rodriguez will now head to trial on first-degree murder charges. He faces six life sentences for the execution-style deaths of Presha and Stewart. An accomplice, Jesse Davis, is serving life in prison after pleading guilty in November 2012.

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