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Day 2: Defense’s request for mistrial denied in case of Cape Coral ex-nurse accused of rape

It was quite the eventful start to the second day of trial for Jeovanni Hildebrand Hechavarria, an ex-nurse accused of raping three patients at Cape Coral Hospital.

Both the State and the defense made requests Thursday morning, which was met with much-heated discussion.

The State requested that the definition of “physically helpless” be amended for the second time in this trial, this time, based on the victim’s testimony.

The defense said being well into the trial, it was a “crazy” request, saying, “Can they change it after closing arguments?” The defense believed it was too late for them to go back.

The State argued that they are allowed to change the language for jury instructions as new evidence arises in the trial. The defense says they would have done “so many more things differently.” The defense attorney said, “This is wrong. This is the fourth amended information.”

After the judge allowed the defense 30 minutes to look over the new changes, they called for a mistrial.

Their reason: The other two victims were called by the State to talk about being on Dilaudid—a pain medication. One of the victims said Wednesday she was not on it at the time of the rape, thus, the defense says she should not have testified.

They argued that the two witnesses’ testimonies have to support this victim’s testimony. “It doesn’t. It’s not even similar. She should not have been allowed to testify. The MO was different.”

In the end, the judge denied the request for a mistrial and also denied the State’s request to change the definitions in the charge.

“That’s the one we started the trial on, so that’s the one you are going to have to move forward on,” he said.

After several hours, the first witness of the day took the stand. Several nurses that worked at the Cape Coral Hospital at the time of the alleged rape took the stand.

The defense and State went back and forth on questioning the nurses, asking if the night shift is busy and could they administer pain medication to the victim without her asking. They cannot.

Following a lunch break, Hechavarria’s ex-wife was called to the stand. The questions she was asked were very personal and had to with Hechavarria’s supposed vasectomy. The defense claims the scars she remembers are not scars typically associated with that procedure.

This is an important piece of information because the victim claims when she was being raped, Hechavarria told her not to worry because he “was fixed.”

Additionally, the court brought out the white towel, which examiners say had the DNA of Hachavarria on it. This is the only piece of evidence that is linked to him and the defense says the evidence bag was opened multiple times.

STATE: “So you did find bodily fluid with the alternate light source?”

EXAMINER: “Well, areas of fluorescence.”

STATE: “Sorry, areas of fluorescence that would indicate body fluid other than blood?

EXAMINER: “That’s correct.”

The forensic technician with Cape Coral Police highlighted the area on the towel where she found bodily fluid. However, she said she cannot confirm where it came from, who it came from, how long it’s been there or that it is, in fact, semen.

She sent the towel to FDLE to test for DNA but that FDLE witness is not available until Friday.


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Reporter:Morgan Rynor
Writer:Briana Harvath
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