Florida students reportedly confess to machete murder of classmate

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Three Florida students reportedly confessed to a plot to lure a classmate into the woods, where he was hacked with a machete, forced into a shallow grave and left to die, police said on Wednesday.

The Miami Herald reports the gruesome details were included in an arrest report for a fourth student, Desiray Strickland, 18, who was detained and charged for her alleged role in the June murder of 17-year-old Jose Amaya Guardado.

Strickland allegedly complained about missing the first few machete strikes because she took a bathroom break, the report says, according to the Miami Herald. After the group buried the teen, Strickland and accused group leader Kaheem Arbelo reportedly stayed in the woods to have sex before returning to the campus of Homestead Job Corps.

Miami-Dade police arrested Arbelo, 20, Jonathan Lucas, 18, and Christian Colon, 19. Police are expecting to arrest a fifth suspect in the next few days, the newspaper reports. The four are being held in Maimi-Dade jails to await trial on charges of second-degree murder.

Everyone involved in the attack, including Guardado, were students at Homestead Job Corps, a live-in school and vocational training program run by the Department of Labor, according to the Herald. The program seeks to help youths get their high school diplomas and learn different job skills.

A Labor Department spokesman said in a statement to the paper on Wednesday that “safety and security is our top priority.”

“Steps already have been taken to strengthen security at the Homestead center, and Job Corps is reviewing safety and security at all its centers,” Labor Department spokesman Stephen Barr said.

Guardado was reported missing on June 28, sparking a search for his body throughout South Miami-Dade. Guardado’s brother found the body near the Job Corps campus.

Police said Arbelo, Lucas and Colon all confessed to the murder, the Miami Herald reports. However, Strickland reportedly was being less than cooperative with police.

She refused to cooperate with detectives upon her detention on Wednesday. Police say she shoved an investigator and head-butted his chest before she was shackled in an interview room. Strickland also allegedly used screws from an electrical outlet to pick her handcuffs then wrote “MPD Go to Hell” on the table. She was also charged with resisting an officer with violence, battery on an officer and criminal mischief, according to the newspaper.

The group allegedly “conspired to plan” the murder at least two weeks before the killing of the teen. The group dug up the grave and planted a machete in the brush, according to Strickland’s arrest report.

The group lured Guardado into the woods and “ambushed the victim” with blows that caused “massive injuries.” As he was dying, the students ordered the teen to lie in the grave, according to the newspaper. The attackers then buried the victim, then wiped blood off a nearby fence, buried the teen’s belongings and their own clothes and got rid of the weapons.

Click for more from the Miami Herald.