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Tampa Driver Held in Killing of Affluent Latino Couple

  • The bodies of 76-year-old Dr. Hector Rivera and 55-year-old Debra Rivera were found Monday at their home in the upscale and gated Avila subdivision.

    The bodies of 76-year-old Dr. Hector Rivera and 55-year-old Debra Rivera were found Monday at their home in the upscale and gated Avila subdivision.  (My Fox Tampa Bay)

  • The couple's driver, Julian Ospina Florez of Tampa, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

    The couple's driver, Julian Ospina Florez of Tampa, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.  (My Fox Tampa Bay)

  • The Rivera's opulent home, where the two were found dead. They lived in an exclusive section of Tampa whose residents include former Tampa Bay Rays manager Lou Piniella.

    The Rivera's opulent home, where the two were found dead. They lived in an exclusive section of Tampa whose residents include former Tampa Bay Rays manager Lou Piniella.  (My Fox Tampa Bay)

A man is behind bars, charged in the deaths of a Hillsborough County doctor and his wife who were found shot to death Monday night.

Deputies arrested Julian Ospina-Florez. Sheriff Gee said Ospina-Florez was employed as a driver and personal assistant to Hector and Debra Rivera.

Ospina-Florez, who appeared in court Wednesday, is charged with first degree murder. A judge has not determined whether he would be able to post bail.

"It was a very brutal killing," Gee said. "He was making sure no one left that residence."

Gee said Debra Rivera had recently reported a theft from the home, and had become suspicious of Ospina-Florez.

"It would be speculation...but we know [Ospina-Florez] was not in good standing with her," Gee said.

Gee said deputies arrived at the scene and found Hector Rivera in the driveway with multiple gunshot wounds. They went inside then found Debra Rivera in a bathroom, also with gunshot wounds.

Watch Video: Suspect arrested in Avila 'brutal killings'

Earlier that day, Gee said Debra Rivera and Ospina-Florez had traveled to Sarasota to purchase jewelry for the business Rivera ran out of her home.

When they returned to the house, that's when Gee said Ospina-Florez shot Rivera. Gee said Hector Rivera arrived at the house to bring his wife dinner, and was shot in the driveway.

Gee said Ospina-Florez called 911, claiming that someone else attacked and shot the couple. He also claimed he had been bound and forced into a bathroom.

But no signs of forced entry or other vehicles were found at the scene, Gee said. On top of that, Gee said deputies found a firearm in the Rivera's home that was registered to Ospina-Florez, and a box of ammunition in his car.

More physical evidence will come out in the upcoming weeks, the sheriff said.

For more, go to My Fox Tampa Bay

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