Tampa Driver Held in Killing of Affluent Latino Couple

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.

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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.

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