Broward County

New technology helps detectives recover deleted messages, link man to murder, cops say

Antonio Andrade
Antonio Andrade Broward Sheriff's Office

New technology helped Miramar detectives recover deleted text messages and link a third man to a murder that happened more than a year ago.

Antonio Andrade, 20, was arrested Wednesday and charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery. He was being held in Broward’s Main Jail on a $30,000 bond as of Thursday afternoon.

Cops say Andrade, 20, helped orchestrate an armed robbery that resulted in Hisham Ahmed’s death, a warrant released Thursday shows.

Ahmed, 28, who sold cellphones as a side business, was found dead in his car in Miramar.

In June 2018, Arri Hayles, 19, and Kymani Scotland, 19, were charged with first-degree murder. Both were being held with no bond awaiting trial.

According to the warrant, officers were called to 2616 Acapulco Dr. in Miramar on Feb. 9, 2017, because there was a “sick or injured person in a vehicle.”

When officers arrived, they found Ahmed slumped over in the driver’s seat. He was pronounced dead. There was a black backpack on the street next to the car, cash in his pockets and in the glove compartment, along with cellphones on him and in the car.

An autopsy later showed that Ahmed, who worked for Cricket Wireless and sold and bought phones on the side, died from gunshot wounds to his back and ear, according to the warrant.

A day after the murder, detectives spoke to potential witnesses at Miramar High School after they had received a tip. In the days following, detectives gathered surveillance video from nearby homes that showed the victim arriving, a brief interaction with the two suspects and the two suspects running away.

The investigation led detectives to Scotland, one of the two charged in the case. Scotland’s father told detectives they had retained a lawyer and that his son could not talk to detectives. Detectives also interviewed Andrade, who said he didn’t know anything about the murder.

Detectives turned their attention to the two cellphones found on Ahmed when he was killed. They determined he was using one of the phones to communicate with someone just before the murder. The conversations — both text and voice — came through the app Talkatone.

After a subpoena, the company provided an IP address that led detectives to Hayles. Hayles denied knowing Scotland and Andrade and allowed detectives to search his phone, one of the detectives wrote in the warrant. Detectives determined Hayles and Andrade communicated by text or phone call 70 times on the day of the murder. The search showed that Hayles had previously communicated with Ahmed.

At 10 p.m. the evening of the murder, Andrade, five minutes after talking to Hayles, deleted from his phone the Talkatone app, police say.

By the end of February, an attorney representing Hayles told detectives that Hayles would not speak to them about the murder.

But detectives continued to get more phone records.

“Based on the context of the text messages and the victim’s livelihood, it appears that [Hayles] led the victim to believe that he was going to be buying a cellphone from the victim,” the detective wrote. “However, when the victim arrived at the location [Hayles] instructed him to, he met with two unknown suspects. The suspects entered the victim’s vehicle and minutes later they shot and killed him.”

By April, a report came back from the lab showing that DNA on a weapon found near the scene matched Scotland’s. Detectives say that evidence proved that Hayles “attempted to conceal any links that would connect him to the victim prior to and after the homicide to avoid detection by law enforcement,” the detective wrote.

Both were indicted by a grand jury on a murder charge and conspiracy charge on June 20, 2018.

Then on June 6 of this year, the detectives began analyzing Hayles’ cellphone for a second time.

“The new analysis was conducted due to advances in technology that were not available during the time the initial analysis was performed,” the detective said in the warrant. “The new analysis was able to recover deleted text messages which revealed text message content between Hayles and Andrade on the day of the homicide.”

The timeline of the messages proves that Hayles and Andrade were “coordinating a time and a place for the victim to respond to,” the detective said.

In addition, detectives say Andrade admitted to being with Scotland on the night of the murder and that his cellphone location placed him in the area during the time of the murder, making it “apparent that Andrade played a principal role in coordinating the robbery.”

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.