TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A woman is accused of helping her boyfriend kill two people last month and trying to frame one victim for the other’s murder.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrested Fatima Lizeth Garcia Avila, 20, of Lakeland, and Daniel Negrete, 27. The couple is facing multiple charges in connection with the deaths of Erica Aviles and Antonio Cuellar-Enriquez.
Deputies said Aviles, 22, was shot and killed outside her home in Dover on the evening of July 18. Her husband, Cornelio Negrete, was wounded in the shooting.
Cornelio said he was putting their 7-month-old son to bed when he started hearing gunshots.
“I hear her scream. I run out. I see her on the ground,” he recalled.
Cornelio said his wife asked him to get a gun, so he retrieved a firearm. When he went back outside, he was hit by something and “blacked out.” He woke up and saw someone driving his truck, a Chevrolet Avalanche, away from the scene.
He had to go to Tampa General Hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries. He did not have a noticeable injury on his head, and a CT scan was negative for head trauma, the report said.
The couple’s two children, who were inside the home at the time, were not harmed.
Deputies found six 9mm shell casings on the ground next to his wife’s body. A Glock firearm was found behind a car outside, and several firearms, which belonged to Cornelio, were found inside the home.
Deputies said Cornelio’s truck, a Chevrolet Avalanche, was found fully engulfed in flames about eight miles away from the shooting. They were not able to collect any evidence from the vehicle since it was so badly damaged.
According to deputies, cell phone data placed Cornelio at his residence from the time his wife was shot until they arrived at the scene.
Deputies reviewed surveillance video recorded the night of the shooting, and spotted two vehicles, the Avalanche and a red Ford Edge, near the burn site around the time he called 911.
A witness saw the vehicles idling next to each other for a brief period of time before the Avalanche went to the site. Surveillance video showed a man walking away from the burning vehicle and getting into the Edge, the report said.
A few days before her death, deputies said Aviles booked an Airbnb about two blocks away from the burn site. Her husband said she was having affairs with two men. He said he spoke to both men over the phone and they admitted to it. He also admitted to sending them texts from his wife’s phone, pretending to be her.
Aviles’ father contacted law enforcement and showed them a suspicious text from a number belonging to Antonio Cuellar-Enriquez , a former employee at his tire shop.
In the text, “Antonio” seemingly confessed to killing his daughter, apologizing for what “they did.” He asked for forgiveness and said his conscious was “killing him.”
“This was not the plan,” the text said, according to the report.
He also claimed the other two men were threatening him and he feared for his safety. He said he wanted Cornelio to suffer.
Two days later, Erica’s father and brother got another suspicious text from the same number.
Cuellar-Enriquez was found shot to death on July 26 at the Baker Creek Boat Ramp in Thonotosassa. Investigators determined he died before those texts messages were sent.
Deputies said Aviles’ brother put them in touch with a witness who said Cornelio’s cousin, Daniel Negrete, may be involved in both deaths. WFLA is not naming his cousin since he has not been charged with a crime.
Police found Daniel Negrete driving a Ford Edge in Plant City on July 29. The vehicle is registered to his girlfriend’s father, deputies said.
Meanwhile, another witness came forward claiming Negrete’s girlfriend, Garcia, had made incriminating statements.
The witness said Garcia called her and asked her to be her alibi. They agreed to meet and Garcia told the witness about the killings.
Garcia said she dropped her boyfriend off at Erica’s home, knowing he would kill her. She said he walked to Erica’s home and hid in the bed of the truck before he shot her, according to the witness.
Garcia said they went to the burn site because they knew it was near the Airbnb Erica had rented days before. She said they went back to site the next day and noticed the vehicle was gone, the witness told investigators.
The witness said Antonio is Garcia’s ex-boyfriend, so she decided to frame him out of spite.
“Had to use someone to take the fall…so who else better than my ex?” she told the witness, according to the report.
Garcia allegedly told the witness she had Antonio spend the night at her house, then gave him pills for a headache, hoping he would overdose. When that didn’t work, she called her boyfriend to come over and confront him. She said her boyfriend hit Antonio over the head with a firearm and shot him multiple times, despite her pleading for him to not to, the witness told investigators.
Garcia said they tried to make his death look like a suicide, and that she wiped down the scene to get rid of their fingerprints. Then she took the victim’s phone and sent Aviles’ father a text to make it look like he killed her, according to the witness.
Based on her incriminating statements, Garcia was arrested. She is facing two counts of Murder in the First Degree Premeditated Firearm – Great Bodily Harm/Death Principal Party To, two counts of Murder in the First Degree Premeditated Firearm – Great Bodily Harm/Death Conspiracy To Commit, Tampering with a Witness, Tampering with a Witness (During First Degree Murder).
Negrete has been charged with two counts of Murder in the First Degree Premeditated Firearm – Great Bodily Harm/Death, two counts of Murder in the First Degree Premeditated Firearm – Great Bodily Harm/Death Conspiracy to Commit, two counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and Arson.
“These senseless killings have forever changed at least two families,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “Ending someone’s life cannot — and should not — be the answer to any situation. Detectives are still connecting the dots to determine the motive behind the two murders and if there are others involved. I pray that these arrests, while they won’t bring home their loved ones, will give the families affected some closure.”