Day 3: Jury finds Cape Coral ex-nurse guilty of raping patient

A jury in Lee County has found ex-nurse Jeovanni Hechavarria guilty of sexual battery after being accused of raping a patient at Cape Coral Hospital.

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Friday marked the third day of trial in the case of Hechavarria, who is accused of raping three patients at Cape Coral Hospital. This first trial only focused on one of those victims.

The day is already off to an eventful start.

The State requested a change to the definition of the charge for the sixth time, which the judge denied. The definition will remain as “physically helpless to resist” instead of “physically incapacitated.”

The last witness for the State took the stand in a big moment for the case; the FDLE agent who analyzed the white towel found in the hospital room at the time of the alleged rape. This is a key piece of evidence.

The analyst confirmed that the DNA on the towel matches that of Jeovanni Hechavarria or a patrilineal relative, which means “relating to or based on the relationship to the father or descent through the male line.”

The defense asked the analyst if she tested for semen or skin cells, to which she answered “skin cells.” The defense pointed out that those cells can come from something as simple as dandruff.

Semen was present on the towel, but that is not what this analyst tested. A technician with the Cape Coral Police Department did test for semen and it was present. However, the State says Hechavarria had a vasectomy so they couldn’t test for identifying sperm.

After this testimony, the State rested their case. The defense only has one witness to call.

Hechavarria stated that he will not testify.

Following the recess, the State gave their closing arguments.

The defense is now making their closing arguments, citing several witnesses in the case.

They say the victim’s room was just 20 feet from the nurses’ station and that it doesn’t seem to make sense for Hechavarria to sexually assault someone knowing the other nurses were so close by.

The defense next argued that FDLE concluded no semen was found on the hospital gown, which the victim was wearing at the time and none found on her boxers or underwear.

They also noted that FDLE said other substances can also test positive for semen. The defense said the towel could have been in the room for days. “You just don’t know. You don’t convict a man on speculation.”

The State then made additional statements in response to the defense’s closing arguments. They argued that there was no reason for a towel with semen on it to be in her private hospital room.

“How’d she know to get sperm-less semen? Did she have a crystal ball? If this is a setup, why not take everything and put it on her underwear? Why a towel? Because that’s where he wiped himself off.”

In response to the suggested “#MeToo” motive, the State argued that one of the witnesses reported her incident in 2015 before the movement was even a thing.

“If the victim was acting, bring out the Academy Award. She was clearly emotional. This is not Meryl Streep. This is not a show. This is a person,” the State said.

Closing arguments have now wrapped up and the jury has begun their deliberation.


CONTINUING COVERAGE

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
Writer:Briana Harvath
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