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More facts unfold in case of Highlands man who was beaten, burned

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Published:   |   Updated: March 14, 2013 at 01:16 AM
SEBRING -

The arrest warrant for Giovanni Burgos, the sixth Highlands County resident accused in the Aaron Doty murder case, illustrates more details in the killing of the 20-year-old who was beaten nearly to death, then set on fire on June 10.

The Oct. 31 affidavit of Det. Barbara Hair was used to convince a judge that Burgos should be arrested in Orlando and brought to Highlands County Jail.

Kenneth Felipe, 19, and Jonathan Ray Rodriguez, 22, both of 5504 Granada Blvd., Sebring, threw a party on Saturday, June 9, which lasted into Sunday morning.

At that party, investigators determined, they fought with Doty. They dragged his unconscious body outside, and later took Doty to nearby Sun N' Lake woods and set him on fire while he was still alive, according to the medical examiner's autopsy.

They were charged second-degree murder, which was later upgraded by first-degree murder, plus abuse of a body and tampering with physical evidence.

Doty was last seen at 4:30 a.m. Sunday. His body was discovered, Monday afternoon, June 11.

On the Sunday afternoon after his family reported Doty was missing, Felipe and Rodriguez were making arrangements to leave Sebring before they could be contacted by law enforcement, Hair's affidavit said.

They needed a place to hide, so they contacted Felipe's cousin, Burgos.

"This conversation was at the location of his aunt's residence in Sebring," the affidavit said. "It is witnessed that Giovanni offers his residence in Orlando."

On Sunday night, Nicole Hebert, Felipe's girlfriend, drove the two accused murderers to Burgos' apartment at 4712 Walden Circle, according to the report. There may have been a fourth person in the car, because a name is whited out twice on the arrest warrant.

After the group arrived, "it is witnessed Jonathan and Kenneth were seated with Giovanni smoking 'pot.' Kenneth and Jonathan were laughing about what they had done to Aaron Doty."

"Through phone conversations between Jonathan Rodriguez and Amanda Kennedy, it was known Jonathan and Kenneth were still in Orlando," the affidavit said. "Jonathan and Kenneth were utilizing the cell phone of Giovanni, in an attempt to avoid law enforcement locating them by their personal cell phones." Rodriguez and Kennedy were friends, the report said.

On Thursday, June 14, U.S.marshals were watching Burgos and Jessica Molano, his girlfriend and mother of his children, and marshals stopped her car while she was on the phone with Burgos. She handed the phone to a marshal, who spoke to Burgos. He knew Molano had been stopped because of Felipe and Rodriguez.

"Giovanni confirmed that Kenneth and Jonathan were at Giovanni's residence and that Jessica would provide a key to open the door to the residence. Giovanni asked that Jessica and his children not be involved, and don't break the door," the affidavit said.

The marshals arrested the two suspects on warrants from the Highlands County Sheriff's Office. They were transported to Highlands County the next day.

When he was interviewed by Det. Hank Smith, Burgos swore that Rodriguez and Felipe came to his residence without notice and acted shady, but denied knowing that they were wanted for murder.

However, the arrest warrant stated, "Giovanni Burgos did have prior knowledge Jonathan Rodriguez and Kenneth Felipe were involved in the active investigation… that Aaron had been beaten by Jonathan and Kenneth… The above information was confirmed via a sworn, taped statement from witness Nicole Hebert that was obtained on 10/10/012. The statement was obtained at the State Attorney's Office in Highlands County with her assigned Legal Counsel present."

"Giovanni Burgos is being charged with Accessory after the fact in a Capital Felony due to knowingly providing concealment from Law Enforcement during an active investigation," the affidavit concluded.

Burgos will be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 17.

Rodriguez is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 21.

Felipe is scheduled for pre-trial hearing at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 20.

Hebert is scheduled for a pre-trial conference at 1:15 p.m. Nov. 20.

Adriana Rodriguez, who is accused of helping clean up the blood evidence at Jonathan Rodriguez and Felipe's apartment, is scheduled for a pretrial conference at 1:15 p.m. Nov. 20.

Travis Makris agreed to keep a bag of clothes and a pair of sneakers. Makris was charged with accessory after the fact. His pre-trial conference is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Nov. 20.


gpinnell@highlandstoday.com (863) 386-5828

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