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Murder-For-Hire Conspiracy Shakes Hernando County

murder for hire

Charges have been filed against four individuals in a conspiracy related to a murder-for-hire plot that resulted in the tragic death of a 17-year-old girl from Hernando County, with a close relative suffering severe injuries, in a Nov. 2 report by Fox 13 Tampa.

It began on Feb. 6, 2023, when Isabella Scavelli, a 17-year-old junior at Hernando High School, reported a sexual assault, identifying her alleged assailant as 36-year-old Lenard White.

Sheriff Al Nienhuis said the night after Scavelli’s report, the teen and the relative who had accompanied her to the sheriff’s office were met at their doorstep by two armed men who shot them. Scavelli died; the family member, whose identity remains undisclosed, was severely injured.

K9 units, following what they believed was the path of the suspects, discovered a crucial piece of evidence near the crime scene: a shoe. Nienhuis said the DNA found on this shoe was linked to 22-year-old Keshawn Woods, a documented gang member.

White quickly emerged as a suspect in the double shooting. Authorities say he went on an unplanned, spontaneous trip to Georgia the same day Scavelli reported her sexual battery.

According to Nienhuis, White paid Sheldon Robinson, 21, approximately $10,000 to carry out the shooting. Robinson asked for help via social media on a “clean up job.” The fee, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) said was $5,000 and cocaine. Woods allegedly took the offer.

A search warrant executed at Woods’ residence found around $4,000 in cash, a firearm, and illegal drugs. Additionally, law enforcement discovered that Robinson had the remaining $6,000. Janet Williams, Robinson’s mother, found the $6,000 but was uncooperative with law enforcement.

Investigators examined the getaway car and found the matching shoe. Matching ammunition for the gun used at the crime scene was found at Robinson’s home, leading to his detention since Feb. 9, 2023.

In collaboration with the ATF, law enforcement officials recently made a significant discovery: a hidden gun in Robinson’s backyard. Nienhuis said ballistics testing conclusively tied this weapon to the shooting of the victims.

White, in custody since Feb. 15, 2023, on sexual battery charges, is set to face additional federal charges. Woods has been charged with felon in possession of a firearm, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of a new drug, and possession of paraphernalia at the state level.

White, Robinson, and Woods face federal charges encompassing conspiracy to commit murder for hire, murder for hire, and using a firearm during a crime of violence. Additionally, White and Robinson have been federally charged with conspiring to possess controlled substances for distribution, tampering with a witness, and obstruction of justice.

Janet Williams, located and arrested last week by ATF agents and HCSO deputies, faces three counts of making false statements to an ATF agent at the federal level.

Conviction on these charges could entail a mandatory life term in federal prison for White, Robinson, and Woods. Williams could face a 15-year prison sentence.

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