Trial update: Jurors hear interrogation of man accused in killing of Bonita Springs woman

Published: July 16, 2021 3:53 PM EDT
Updated: July 16, 2021 7:10 PM EDT

Jurors heard from the man accused of killing a Bonita Springs woman in 2017 during day three of testimony.

Prosecutors played a taped 3-hour interrogation of Cristian Dilan where he denied involvement before admitting that he was present for the beating of 34-year-old Sarah Nicholson in her Squire Lane home.

Nicholson was also stabbed and her home was set on fire.

In his interrogation, Dilan cried while confessing that he went to Nicholson’s home but in his version of events he went to help Davaughn Oquendo move out.

A second suspect, Raymond Gomez, faces charged in Nicholson’s death. Oquendo, who Dilan says was Nicholson’s attacker, has not been arrested.

Dilan says when they got there, Nicholson recognized Oquendo even though he was masked. Dilan said Oquendo started hurting Nicholson and told Dilan and Gomez to get his stuff.

“I heard screaming and yelling while I was in the car,” Dilan said in his interrogation. “He ends up running out the house. He says he lit the house on fire, then he has so much blood on him, so much (expletive) blood on him.”

“He said if I ever said anything, he would kill me, my mom, my brother and my sister,” Dilan added.

In the interrogation, Dilan started crying uncontrollably because he couldn’t help Nicholson.

“It really (expletive) hurts,” he said. “I could have saved that lady’s life. I could have did something. I didn’t touch her, I just grabbed everything like I was told. I could have died there that night too, you guys could have found my body in there too.”

Dilan said Oquendo told him and Gomez that Nicholson would not be home when they went to go get his stuff.

Listening to Nicholson’s last moments has stirred up awful emotions for Nicholson’s friends and family.

Nicholson’s mother Debbie Nicholson said she made a choice to not watch the trial from inside the courtroom.

It was just too hard.

To Debbie, Sarah was known to her as “Sarah Marie.” The two were best friends.

Sarah was an only child and the center of her parents’ world.

Debbie walked through the burned-out home just days after Sarah’s death.

“I wanted to know what happened to my baby,” Debbie told WINK News.

She hopes for a lock of Sarah’s hair but she only found soot.

Sarah was a graphic designer, an artist and an entrepreneur who enjoyed travel. Her last trip was to Scotland.

Debbie still sees her as an “angel put on this earth for 34 years.”

The state rested its case on Friday.

The defense asked the judge to dismiss the burglary charge but the judge denied.

On Monday, the defense will present its case to the jury.

The defense attorney described Dilan as a scared kid after jurors listened to the interrogation.

The jury could begin deliberating as early as Monday afternoon.