Victims of an accused peeping tom came face-to-face with him for the first time in court Wednesday. Police said the man was on the prowl for years, violating more than two dozen victims in Pembroke Pines.
Women waited anxiously to hear whether their alleged peeping tom would be given a chance to get out of jail, but they didn't get an answer Wednesday. A five-hour bond hearing for Pelayo Cerulia, 43, was paused until Thursday.
"We're hoping that he holds him no bond, but it's an uphill battle and a circumstantial evidence case," said Kathleen Bogenschutz, prosecutor.
Cerulia is accused of lurking outside of women's bedrooms in Pembroke Pines, peeking in and touching himself while watching the women undress.
Detectives said Cerulia was often armed with a slingshot and would repeatedly spray paint onto cameras setup to try to catch him.
The prosecution spent much of the afternoon showing surveillance video and how he allegedly tampered with those cameras.
"She observed him peering in her window, constantly defeating her camera by spray painting it, breaking the window," Det. Joey Cabrera explained.
The defense argued that police did not pursue leads pointing to other possible suspects, and questioned whether procedures were correctly followed.
"We've got our boots on and they're steel-toed. We look forward to the challenge and doing what we need to do to secure a bond for our client," said Robert N. Pelier, defense lawyer.
A judge initially denied Cerulia bond when he turned himself in on New Year's Eve. His alleged victims, four of whom were just outside the courtroom Wednesday, hope the judge holds to that.
The bond hearing will continue Thursday at 2 p.m.
Cerulia's family was also in the courtroom, but shielded themselves from the cameras.