Accused of taking part in a savage machete murder in Homestead, a teenage girl insisted she was innocent — repeatedly and loudly.
Newly released police interrogation video shows that Desiray Strickland, 19, demanded to be let free, howled at a Miami-Dade detective and even scratched insults directed at police on an interrogation-room table.
“I did not kill that boy, I promise!” Strickland screamed at Miami-Dade Detective Juan Segovia.
“All I want to know is what you were involved in,” the homicide detective said. “You need to calm down.”
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Segovia outlined witness statements and confessions from other suspects as evidence against her.
“I have not done anything!” Strickland cried, adding: “I’m not going to stay quiet!”
What Strickland did not do was confess to the June 2015 murder of 17-year-old Jose Amaya Guardado, who was hacked to death and found buried in a shallow grave in the woods of Homestead. She invoked her right to retain a lawyer, and was eventually sent to jail.
She is now awaiting trial.
Prosecutors say Strickland and four others planned the murder of Jose, a bespectacled teen who was a fellow student at the Homestead Job Corp, a federally run residential school for at-risk youth.
Strickland is the girlfriend of accused ringleader Kaheem Arbelo, who is alleged to have swung the fatal blows that killed Jose. Witnesses told police that Strickland "complained that she had missed the first series of machete strikes because she had walked away for a few minutes to urinate in the woods," according to her arrest report.
She and Arbelo allegedly had sex in the woods after the group of students buried the teen's body. The killing is believed to have a stemmed to a debt owed to Arbelo, a suspected drug dealer.
Also awaiting trial: Jonathan Lucas, Christian Colon and Joseph Michael Cabrera. Charged with first-degree murder, each faces the possibility of the death penalty.
Arbelo, Lucas and Colon all confessed — in video-recorded statements — when they were detained in August 2015, according to Miami-Dade police. The arrest warrants detailing their arrests remain sealed by the court.
Strickland never came close to outlining her story. The video shows she was hysterical and confrontational from the beginning – the detective accused her of pushing him as he led her into the interview room.
“You cannot put your hands on a law enforcement officer,” Segovia said.
“I didn’t put my hands on you!” said Strickland, who was also charged with battery on a law-enforcement officer.
The video also shows that after Segovia left the room, Strickland removed screws from an electrical outlet, using it to try and pick the handcuffs and scratch words into a table.
She wrote: “MPD go to hell!”
“That’s not very nice,” Segovia said as Strickland was being led out to be taken to jail.