Arrest Made in Avila Murders

The accused murderer of two wealthy Avila residents not only knew his victims but worked for them.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrested the couples hired driver, Julian Ospina Flores, 31,  in connection with the murders of the retired Tampa doctor and his wife.  He is scheduled to make his first appearance in court today.

Dr. Hector Rivera, 76, and his wife Debra Rivera, 55, were found shot to death at their home in the Avila subdivision in north Tampa Monday night. The doctor, now retired, ran the Town ‘N Country Medical Care Clinic.

Florez worked as an assistant to Debra Rivera, who ran a business called Distinctive Creations. Florez was her driver, is a Colombia native, but was a U.S. naturalized citizen for 10 years.

Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said Debra Rivera and Florez had been in Sarasota on Monday and then drove back to the Rivera home from the Sarasota Ritz Carlton to replenish merchandise for her business.

Police say that Mrs. Rivera didn’t trust Florez and there could have been an argument between them about a large theft from her house last week.  That when they believe Florez shot Debra Rivera in a bathroom.

Dr. Rivera was watching a football game at a neighbor’s house at the time his wife was shot. He returned to his house to bring Debra food, when Florez allegedly shot him multiple times on the driveway.

Florez called 911 and said that he had been tied up and attacked.

When officials arrived at the home Monday night, Florez was inside. A weapon was found nearby. Officials said there also is evidence of Florez purchasing ammunition.

A receipt was recovered from the defendant indicating that he’d purchased a box of ammunition from a local Walmart on December 7, 2011.”

When asked about a motive in the case, Sheriff Gee says, “I will tell you the relationship between Mrs. Rivera [and Florez]…she’d become mistrustful of him. She had reported a theft a week or so ago at her residence of some jewelry that had been stolen. We know that he was not in good standing with her.”

He says they are investigating whether she confronted Florez before the shootings but he says Florez, “Has not been forthcoming with his interviews with us.”

Florez, who was booked into the Orient Road jail, has been charged with premeditated murder.

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News Talk Florida Staff