Prosecutors will ask Judge Michelle Sisco on Wednesday for the maximum sentence of life in prison for 29-year-old Hector Acevedo.
Acevedo’s spontaneous question to deputies—“Did you find her?”—sparked an investigation that led to his girlfriend’s body and ultimately to Acevedo’s conviction, secured by prosecutors from the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office on September 23.
Now convicted of first-degree murder, Acevedo will be present in court for his sentencing at 10 a.m. on October 13 in Courtroom 10 of the Hillsborough County Courthouse. Assistant State Attorneys Scott Harmon and Jessica Couvertier led the prosecution during Acevedo’s four-day trial.
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.
“I’m proud of our team for making sure this monster won’t ever hurt anyone again,” Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said.
“This is the most painful kind of reminder that we all need to do everything we can to keep the people we love safe from domestic violence. This is top-of-mind for all of us in the justice system, not only during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but every day—and we need members of the community to keep being our eyes and ears, supporting survivors who need help.”
On April 22, 2017, Acevedo called his mother and told her he wanted to kill himself. She picked him up, brought him to her home, and called a relative who works for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for help.
That deputy called for on-duty deputies to respond, and Acevedo was taken into custody for his own protection under the Baker Act. At the time, Acevedo was carrying a pistol and had blood on his clothes and legs, along with abrasions on his knuckles and a knife wound on his left palm.
While being escorted out of the house, the defendant made the spontaneous statement, “Did you find her?” Acevedo initially would not respond to questions about who he meant, but he later spontaneously told deputies his girlfriend’s name and address.
After getting no response at the door, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies and Tampa Police officers forced their way into the apartment at that address.
Inside, they found the deceased victim, covered in blood and laying on her bedroom floor, the victim of a vicious and brutal attack. Two knives were recovered in the bedroom along with significant evidence that the killer had tried to wash blood off of himself in the bathroom.
The Hillsborough Medical Examiner’s Office determined the victim suffered several dozen stab wounds to multiple areas of her body. Additionally, the victim had blunt impact injuries to her face, arms, and hands.
Acevedo told Tampa Police detectives that the victim hit him and that he then punched her in the face. Acevedo continued that the victim then armed herself with a kitchen knife and that Acevedo then “disarmed” her.
He said the next thing he remembered was the victim lying on the bedroom floor covered in blood. DNA analysis determined that the victim’s blood was on Acevedo’s undershirt, knees, and foot.
A 12-member jury found Acevedo guilty of first-degree premeditated murder after two hours of deliberation on September 23. He is expected to receive a mandatory sentence of life in prison on Wednesday.
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