5 Students Charged With Killing Classmate Could Face Death

Five Florida students have been charged with first-degree murder in the machete slaying of a fellow vocational school student and could face the death penalty.

A grand jury indicted the five suspects Wednesday.

Five people are charged in the murder of 17-year-old Jose Amaya-Guardado, who was found buried in a shallow grave near his school in July by a family member. The police report said his face was caved-in by a machete.

The defendants include 23-year-old Joseph Michael Cabrera, 20-year-old Kaheem Justin Arbelo, 18-year-old Jonathan Isiah Lucas, 19-year-old Christian Raul Colon and 18-year-old Desiray Alisha Strickland.

Strickland confessed to planning the murder with the others and told detectives they lured Guardado into the woods and attacked him with a machete. They set fire to the evidence and then Strickland told detectives she had sex near Guardado's dead body, police said.

An arrest report contends the suspects planned the attack two weeks in advance.

As for a motive, family said Guardado may have owed them money, but police aren't saying anything on that. The arrest warrants have been sealed.

Police said they don't expect to make any other arrests in this case.

The murder has brought scrutiny to the Homestead Job Corps, a live-in school and vocational training program for at-risk students run by the U.S. Department of Labor. 

The U.S. Department of Labor announced on September 3rd that it would be it's shutting down the Job Corps Center in Homestead for at least the near future. They released the following statement:

"The U.S. Department of Labor has extended the suspension of education and training classes at the Homestead Job Corps Center in Florida and directed the transfer of students to other centers in Florida and nearby states. This pause in operations will provide additional time for Job Corps to complete its review of safety and security at the Homestead center and to consider actions to further strengthen oversight and accountability of Job Corps contractors.

We believe this action is in the best interests of the students enrolled at Homestead. Notices are being sent to students and families by the center operator, and Job Corps will take steps to ensure students can continue training that meets their goals and career plans. Homestead students are on summer break, which was previously scheduled to end on September 9.

No date has been set for the completion of the review or resumption of services and activities at the center. The safety and security of Job Corps students remains our top priority and drives our actions."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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