Day 1 of trial begins for Cape Coral ex-nurse accused of raping patients

The first day of trial number one began Wednesday morning in the case of a Cape Coral ex-nurse who is accused of raping three of his patients.

Investigators arrested Jeovanni Hildebrand Hechavarria, 35, of Fort Myers, in 2017. One of the victims, who we’re keeping anonymous, says Hechvarria attacked her while she was a patient at Cape Coral Hospital in 2015.

This trial will only be for one of the three victims, although they all took the stand Wednesday.

The jury was selected and sworn in Tuesday evening. As court returned Wednesday morning, one juror was found to have posted on Facebook about being on the jury. He was asked a few questions, but since he did not reveal any specifics, the judge found no problem.

The day began with opening statements from the State and defense.

The State described the night of the rape, how Hechavarria threatened the victim and the moments after, which included the victim wiping herself.

Despite this, the State says Hechavarria’s semen was found on a white towel in the room.

They asked the victim if she screamed for help, but she said she couldn’t because his hand was over her mouth.

As for the defense, Hechavarria’s attorney said his DNA was not found on anything other than the towel, claiming the victim was “not helpless” and that she never asked for another nurse.

Once opening statements wrapped up, the victim was called to the stand. Anybody who did not have permission to be in the courtroom was kicked out. Only immediate family members, jurors, law enforcement, attorneys and media were allowed to stay.

The defense warned the jurors to look past the emotion and listen to the stories.

As she prepared to take the stand, the victim entered the courtroom crying.

The State attorney asked her to describe Hechavarria. She said, “He’s a monster. I don’t know how else to describe him.” She then broke down into a heavy sob when she was asked to point him out in the courtroom.

The victim went on to describe the course of events that occurred. She said Hechavarria was rubbing her back when she told him to stop. But she said she still didn’t know what was going to happen.

She went on to say that Hechavarria removed her undergarments and dropped his pants, revealing that he was not wearing underwear. She told him to stop and that she wouldn’t tell anyone what he’d already done.

The victim said Hechavarria said he knew where she lived and that he was her nurse the next night and he would do worse. He did not use a condom.

The State went on to ask if anything that was done to her was done with her consent, to which she replied with an emphatic “no!” The State attorney said it was a stupid question he had to ask.

With that, the State was done questioning the victim and the defense came forward for their questioning.

The defense asked the victim if she flirted with Hechavarria at all to which she replied, “Excuse me?” The attorney asked again and the victim said “No! What?!”

The defense then finished up and the State came up again to ask a few more questions.

The State says a crucial witness, the custodian at the hospital at the time of the rape, was admitted to the ER. The State says they can use his previous testimony. The defense says he needs to be here in person. The judge says records will have to do.

Another victim then took the stand, who also accuses Hechavarria of sexual assault. She said she woke up to his fingers inside of her.

The third victim, also accusing him of sexual assault, then took the stand. She said the medicine that was administered to her, as well as the two other victims, made her feel frozen, loopy and helpless.


CONTINUING COVERAGE

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
Writer:Briana Harvath
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