On Wednesday, Judge Michelle Sisco has sentenced Hector Acevedo to life in prison without the possibility of parole
The victim, 23-year-old Shyeanne Lewis, was studying Marine Biology at the University of South Florida while working two jobs to support her studies.
Her mother, Angela Martin, describes Lewis as having a smile that could light up any room and a strong dedication to her education and future. Members of Lewis’s family are expected to speak at the hearing.
During today’s hearing, several of Shyeanne’s friends and family members spoke to the judge about the pain they still feel from losing her, nearly five years later. Through most of the proceeding, Acevedo sat hunched over in his chair, hands folded in front of him, staring at the floor.
Shyeanne’s friend Sylvia Jennings spoke directly to Acevedo. “A monster took my daughter’s godmother away, and I cannot forgive you…. It’s very evil. You have no right. What made you feel like you had the right to take someone’s only child away?” Jennings said.
Shyeanne’s uncle, Richard LaCagnina, recalled a conversation he had with Acevedo while Acevedo and Shyeanne were dating. “I spoke to you about how hard of a worker she was—maintaining two jobs, along with taking full classes at USF. I told you you had a special lady in your possession, not once, but twice that night… What goes around comes around. You had no right to do what you did. She did not deserve it. And now we’re here today to get justice for ‘Shy-Shy.’ It’s time to accept the consequences,” LaCagnina said.
Shyeanne’s mother, Angela Martin, was the last to speak. She showed the judge two framed photos of her daughter. One, a highs school senior photo of Shyeanne with her dog Precious, and the other, the last family photo Shyeanne ever took.
“It’s 1,635 days since you took my baby from me. It’s been 1,635 days since I’ve heard my baby tell me she loves me. Her poise, her laughs, her jokes. My niece will never know her big cousin. I’m so angry, I’m hurt, I’m lost without my baby. She’s my everything, my world. When you took her, you took me, too,” Martin said.
“The holidays are the worst because my baby loved the holidays… On Mother’s Day, I get up and I go sit under a tree so I can spend time with my daughter, looking at her picture on a stone. That’s not fair. That’s not right.”
“I hope and I pray that you get what you deserve. Because my baby didn’t deserve what you did to her.”
Judge Michelle Sisco, on the verge of tears, spoke to Shyeanne’s mother. “I don’t know how you had the strength to sit through this trial and listen to the evidence and listen to the savage way in which your daughter died. That only happens out of the deepest and truest mother’s love. That is a show of complete fidelity to your daughter,” Sisco said.
After Acevedo was led away in chains, Martin shared some of her loving memories of her daughter Shyeanne. Martin described Shyeanne as caring—toward people as well as animals—hard-working, and joyful. “She was serious when she wanted to be, or when she had to be, when it comes to her studies… But when she was at home, she’d like to lay around on the couch, lay her legs across my legs… She was just like a kid at home. A kid at home, but serious outside when she had to be,” Martin said.
“I want everybody to remember her beautiful smile. Her silly laugh. One of her friends said that if somebody’s upset, all she had to do is to walk in a room and, just, smile—and the whole room would just light up.”
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