Testimony Continues in UF Student Slaying Trial

Testimony continued Wednesday in the trial of the Miami man accused of killing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar. Pedro Bravo faces several charges in the 2012 death of Aguilar, his one-time friend.

On the stand for a second day was Erika Friman, Bravo’s high school sweetheart and Aguilar’s college girlfriend. According to Friman, Bravo found out she was with Aguilar when both went to report Christian missing.

“I told him that my boyfriend had gone to meet with my ex-boyfriend and Pedro expressed some slight surprise,” Friman testified.

The girl testified for several hours in detail about her break-up with Bravo and what she recalled about how he took the break-up. She said that the heartbreak led Bravo to talk about suicide. She read several text message exchanges to the jury.

“Please, please for the love of God please don’t do anything crazy,” Friman read from a text message she sent to Bravo. “Please, Pedro, I can’t. I need you to not do anything crazy. He says, ‘Let me be, I still care about you.’”

Friman said Bravo was set to go to college in Miami, but changed his mind and by the summer of 2012, he had moved to Gainesville where Erika and Christian were both in school at the University of Florida. The state said the move was made in hopes of reconciling with Erika.

Friman said she didn’t tell Bravo she was dating Aguilar. Both Christian and Pedro had attended Doral Charter before going to college.

“I lied to him because he was in a very sensitive time in his life, I suppose, and I didn’t want to throw him over the edge,” Friman told the jury.

Friman eventually broke down after several hours on the stand. She had described the relationship with Bravo and spent time identifying items belonging to both men. The court called a recess to allow Friman to compose herself.

Her testimony comes on the second day of the trial. Christian Aguilar’s father, Carlos Aguilar, was the first witness called by the prosecution. 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.”

Prosecutors say Bravo orchestrated a plan to kill Aguilar because of an obsession with Friman.

Bravo researched ways to kill and get away with it before drugging and strangling Aguilar in a WalMart parking lot, prosecutors said. Defense attorneys said the two had argued, but denied that Bravo killed Aguilar.

Aguilar was reported missing in September 2012, setting off a massive search. The 18-year-old's body was later discovered by hunters in a rural area of Levy County. According to authorities, Aguilar was last seen alive with Bravo, his friend and former classmate at Doral Preparatory High School, at a Gainesville Best Buy.

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.

Bravo faces seven charges, including homicide, kidnapping, poisoning, making a false report, obstructing a criminal investigation, destroying evidence and mishandling human remains.

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