The father of Christian Aguilar took the stand Tuesday after opening statements were delivered in the trial of the man accused of murdering the University of Florida student.
Carlos Aguilar was the first witness called Tuesday in the trial of Pedro Bravo, who faces several charges in the 2012 death of Aguilar, his one-time friend.
Carlos said he got the call about his son being missing on September 21, 2012. He said the call came from Christian’s girlfriend, Erika Friman who was with Pedro Bravo and calling from the University of Florida Police Department to report Christian missing.
“My wife called me at work stating that Erika said that Christian was not answering the phone,” Carlos Aguilar said.
Aguilar said he called Pedro Bravo three or four times after he learned that Bravo was the last person seen with Christian before finally connecting with him.
“He told me that he got into an argument with Christian and that Christian told him he was going to get out of the car and he let Christian go,” Carlos testified. “And that sounds like the right thing, and in that moment; I believed him.”
During openings, prosecutors said Bravo orchestrated a plan to kill Aguilar because of an obsession with a girl who had dumped him for Aguilar. Bravo researched ways to kill and get away with it before drugging and strangling Aguilar in a WalMart parking lot, prosecutors said.
Bravo and Aguilar were friends from their days at Doral Preparatory High School. Police said Aguilar and Bravo were last seen together on camera at a Gainesville-area Best Buy store. The 18-year-old's body was later discovered by hunters in a rural area of Levy County.
Police said they found blood in Bravo's SUV and found Aguilar's backpack hidden inside a suitcase in Bravo's closet. Bravo also bought a shovel and roll of duct tape days before the disappearance of Aguilar, a UF freshman, according to authorities.
What both legal teams have yet to sort out is why Bravo was in Gainesville at all. He reportedly was going to Florida International University, but enrolled instead at Santa Fe College, where Erika was a student. Rosa Felibert was also a student at Santa Fe and a friend of both Aguilar and Bravo.
“When he (Bravo) shows up, do you have an understanding of why he’s coming to Gainesville?” prosecutors asked Rosa. “Not at first, but then he told me that he came to get Erika back,” Rosa responded.
Monday's testimony ended with Erika on the stand. When asked about her contact with Bravo after she broke up with him, she called it "non-existant."
"I wasn't really speaking to him at all," Friman said. "He was sending me messages, phone calls, emails."
She's expected to continue her testimony on Wednesday when the trial resumes.
Bravo faces seven charges, including homicide, kidnapping, poisoning, making a false report, obstructing a criminal investigation, destroying evidence and mishandling human remains.