published: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Doty was still alive when set on fire
By SCOTT DRESSEL
SEBRING -- Aaron Doty, whose burned body was found in a wooded area in Sun 'N Lake in June, was alive when he was set on fire, the District 10 Medical Examiner said on Friday.
Doty, 20, was allegedly beaten into unconsciousness at a party by two men the morning of June 10. The men then loaded him into a truck and took it out to the woods, where the fire was set.
Jonathan Ray Rodriguez, 22, and 19-year-old Kenneth Felipe, who lived at 5504 Granada Blvd. where the fight took place, were arrested June 13 after fleeing to Orlando. They were charged with second-degree murder, abuse of a dead human body and tampering with physical evidence.
The state's attorney is reviewing the most recent findings and information from the medical examiner and a grand jury will be scheduled for mid-October, a Highlands County Sheriff's Office press release said Friday.
Doty had severe head injuries as a result of the beating, the medical examiner determined when ruling the death a homicide. Previous statements by witnesses had made it appear that Doty had died before he was removed from the suspects' home.
"With the level of chemicals the medical examiner identified in his blood, it indicates that there must have been respiration (after the fire was started)," Sheriff Susan Benton said Saturday.
Benton said it was hard to tell the Doty family the news.
"We spoke to Aaron's family today and without a doubt this is heartbreaking news for the family to receive," she said Friday.
According to investigators, Doty arrived at the party after midnight Sunday, June 10. The medical examiner said Friday that no narcotics nor illegal drugs were in Doty's blood, although there was an elevated blood alcohol content level.
According to witnesses, between 5 and 6 a.m. on June 10, Rodriguez and Felipe hit Doty about his face and head, causing him to fall to the floor unconscious. While Doty was on the ground, the suspects are said to have continued to hit Doty. They then allegedly drug him outside by his feet and left him outside.
Witnesses told investigators that Doty was "breathing hard, making moaning noises and slowly moving his head." One witness attempted to wake Doty, putting a hand under his head. When the hand was pulled away, it had blood on it.
Nobody, however, called 911, even after Doty stopped moving.
Later, Doty, who witnesses said was not moving nor breathing and had become stiff, was placed in the bed of a truck and taken to the woods where he was found the next day.
Felipe's girlfriend, Nicole Hebert, 20, was arrested July 11 as an accessory after the fact for allegedly driving the pair out of county. Adriana Rodriguez, 21, was charged that same day with tampering with evidence after she allegedly cleaned Doty's blood off a wall at the suspects' home.
Travis Makris, 21, was charged July 13 with being an accessory after the fact. Makris is alleged to have stored the bloody clothing and other evidence for suspect Kenneth Felipe.
Hebert and Makris remain in jail with no bond. Rodriguez was released on bail July 12.
This remains an open investigation. Anyone with information regarding this case is requested to call the Highlands County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Unit and Detective Barbara Hair at 863-402-7250.
Anyone with information who wants to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477) or visit www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com/.
Justice for Aaron (by: roxann - 9/29/2012)
there will be justice for Aaron and the Lord will prevail and not let those 2 thoggs get away with murder.Revengence is mine said the lord and when they go to court they will be punished threw first degree murder and the rest of the ones at the party who did nothing will never forget what they had seen they are just as guilty and shall be punished to.If the report said aaron was still alive before they put him in the fire it is called murder in the first degree not second in my opipion.what they did makes me sick and they are animals all of them
BlueStone (by: Sharon English - 9/26/2012)
God bless the Doty family.
OMG (by: God's Child - 9/24/2012)
I hate that Aaron had to be treated like he wasn't a human being in the incident! The God I serve will bring all who were involved to justice! I continue to pray for all of the family members of Aaron Doty!
Petition (by: Erica - 9/24/2012)
Please sign this petition to create a law that will hold those accountable who stand idle and watch as someone's life is taken without calling 911. Aaron could have been saved yet people did nothing!
A Parent (by: Sly - 9/24/2012)
it is a newspapers duty to the community it serves to report the news. Good or Bad.
Where is Compassion? (by: A Parent - 9/23/2012)
Might I ask what purpose this article serves? Isn't enough that a family has lost a beloved son. People have lost a friend. While this fact may serve for greater purposes in the trial can we not leave well enough alone? Would you want to know this about your child and then spread it around the community? I regret the world that I now live in is so heartless.
Crap (by: Sam the black man - 9/23/2012)
This is the kind of Crap that is moving to our Town arm yourself get your Gun permits and learn how to defend yourself.
So... (by: foodforthought - 9/23/2012)
when is this trial going to start with all the hard evidence at hand?
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