Jury selection begins in UF student's slaying

By News4Jax.com Staff, webteam@wjxt.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 12:11:14 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 04 2014 10:53:11 PM EDT

Pedro Bravo (left) is accused of killing Christian Aguilar

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -

The trial of a Miami man charged in the 2012 death of a University of Florida student began Monday with jury selection.

Pedro Bravo, 20, faces life in prison if convicted of killing 18-year-old Christian Aguilar. 

Between hundreds of potential jurors in the trial were given a special questionnaire asking how much they've heard about the case that drew international attention. The five questions are designed to speed up the process of selecting a jury of 12, plus two alternates.

Prosecutor Darry Lloyd said the state will not seek the death penalty -- a decision made by Sate Attorney Will Cervone in consultation with the Aguilar family.  

A massive search began when Aguilar was reported missing in September 2012.  His body was later discovered by hunters days later in a rural area of Levy County, about an hour from campus.

Police said when Bravo was questioned, he initially said the two had gotten into an argument over a girl. A receipt and surveillance video showed that Bravo bought a shovel and duct tape four days before Aguilar's disappearance.

Family said after his death that Aguilar had a smile and a warm spirit that touched people when they got to know him. They were shocked and saddened over his death nearly two years ago and had a hard time coming to terms with what happened.

Investigators said Aguilar was partially buried in a shallow grave, deep in the woods, on a hunting lease in Cedar Key. It's located about 45 minutes from the UF campus.

According to a grand jury indictment, Bravo poisoned and suffocated Aguilar, who he attended school with prior to college. He originally told police he beat Aguilar up after a fight over a girl, according to the indictment.

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