(GAINESVILLE, Fla.) — The man accused of killing his friend in a jealous rage over a former girlfriend from high school told a Florida court Thursday that he followed the woman to her college in Gainesville because “I still loved her” and “was going to go get her back.”
But Pedro Bravo testified that he was later “crushed” to learn that Erika Friman was by then seeing Christian Aguilar, the friend Bravo, 20, is now accused of killing. Bravo has denied the allegation.
Bravo also calmly testified that he had become suicidal, although “I couldn’t bring myself to hang myself or anything like that,” he said.
Thursday’s testimony followed his lawyer challenging a suggestion on Wednesday that Bravo had asked the iPhone application Siri for help in hiding the victim’s body.
The prosecution on Tuesday displayed for the jury a grab from Bravo’s iPhone that asked Siri, “I need to hide my roommate.” The grab showed a supposed response from Siri that replied, “What kind of place are you looking for?” and listed swamps, reservoirs, metal foundries and dumps.
Under cross examination, however, Det. Matt Goeckel conceded that Bravo had an iPhone 4, which did not have Siri capability and there was no proof that Bravo had asked Siri for suggestions on disposing of a body. The detective said the image on Bravo’s phone was a “cached photo.”
The defense also pointed out that Bravo and Aguilar were not roommates.
Several news outlets, including ABC News, initially reported that the prosecution contended that Bravo had asked Siri for help in deciding where to hide a body. The Gainesville Police Department tweeted Wednesday that “GPD Det. Goeckel certainly did not testify to that.”
Aguilar’s body was found in a forest.
During Tuesday’s testimony, medical examiner Martha Burt told the court about fragments of duct tape found on the victim’s body.
“The tape appeared to be looped around both wrists,” Burt said.
The jury also heard the accused killer on Monday, when his interrogation tapes were played in court. In that interrogation, Bravo admitted to police that he met Aguilar on the night of his death.
“He got out of the car and I fought him and after that, I remember going in the car and I remember seeing him in my rearview mirror while I was driving away,” Bravo said during the interrogation.
Prosecutors agree that Bravo drove away, but they allege that he did so with Aguilar’s body in the back of his SUV, later stashing it in a remote field.
Aguilar’s body was discovered 22 days after he went missing.
Bravo, who has pleaded not guilty, sat stone-faced during Tuesday’s testimony.
Prosecutors last week revealed a photograph in court of the belt they say Bravo used to kill Aguilar. Authorities have also focused on a sketch pad they say Bravo filled with hate-filled messages.
“No one will stop me,” he wrote in one passage, prosecutors allege. “I will get out of Miami and into Gainesville by January 2013 and I will get her back.”
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