A Florida man accused of se*xually ass*aulting a 17-year-old girl was charged along with two men he hired to k*ill the teen to prevent her from pursuing a cr*iminal case against him, officials announced on Thursday. Isabella Scavelli, a junior at Hernando High School, was fatally s*hot in February, and no suspect was immediately named.
On Thursday, federal prosecutors said that Lenard White, 36, had been indicted on multiple charges including mu*rder for hire after he al*legedly paid 21-year-old Sheldon Robinson and 22-year-old Keshawn Woods to fatally sh*oot the teen.
Authorities say that the girl and her mother told the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office on February 6 that White had sexually assaulted them.
Sheriff Al Nienhuis of Hernando County said at a news conference on Thursday that the sexual assault was not random, but he did not say how the two people knew each other. The girl called the police on White the next day. That same day, Robinson and Woods came to Nienhuis’s house and opened fire when she answered the door.
U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg said there was proof that the 17-year-old girl was shot in the back as she tried to get away. He also said that her mother was seriously hurt in the shooting, and the suspects then ran away.
Nienhuis said that White was looked into right away, and on February 15, he was arrested on state charges of sexual battery. We didn’t know much about the alleged mur*der-for-hire plot and federal charges until this week, though.
Detectives say White paid Robinson $10,000 to k*ill the 17-year-old. Robinson is said to have then used social media to ask for help with a “clean-up job.” Authorities say that Woods took the $5,000 and cocaine that he offered.
Investigators showed a picture of Robinson at the press conference. In it, he is holding what looks like a bag of cocaine and several stacks of $100 bills.
As soon as the shooting happened, K9 units tracked the suspects and found Woods’ DNA on a shoe, according to the police. Nienhuis said that when his house was searched later, $4,000 in cash, a gun, and illegal drugs were found. He was then arrested on state drug and weapons charges.
The police also searched Robinson’s mother’s house and say they found the last $6,000 and bullets that were the same ones used in the shooting. Robinson was caught on Feb. 9 and charged by the state.
As a result of the new federal charges, the three men are now also being charged with mu*rder for hire, conspiracy to commit mur*der for hire, and firing a gun during a violent crime. Robinson and White are also accused of plotting to sell illegal drugs, tampering with a witness, and getting in the way of the law. Each could get life in prison or the death penalty.
Robinson’s mother was also charged with giving multiple false statements to federal agents. Prosecutors say she could spend up to five years in prison for this crime.
An attorney for Woods declined to comment
On February 18, Scavelli’s life was honored, and in her obituary, it was written that she had planned to join the military after high school. In addition to ROTC, she was in student government and played tennis for her school. After she died, the community’s grief was shown in the news.
“She was lively and happy, and her smile could light up any room,” the death notice said. Isabella was a very nice and interesting girl. She was the best daughter, sister, and aunt.