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Latino Daily News

Thursday January 12, 2012

LATINO BLOTTER: Wealthy Florida Couple Allegedly Shot by Employee Julian Ospina-Florez

LATINO BLOTTER: Wealthy Florida Couple Allegedly Shot by Employee Julian Ospina-Florez

Photo: Dr. and Mrs. Rivera allegedly shot by employee Julian Ospina-Florez

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Julian Ospina-Florez is accused of killing the couple he worked for in an attempt to steal the wife’s merchandise.

Ospina-Florez, 31, was the driver for Dr. Hector Rivera and his wife Debra, and also worked as Mrs. Rivera’s assistant. The couple lived in an affluent and gated Florida community of Avila near Tampa.

The Colombian-born employee is said to have been the one to call the police after Dr. and Mrs. Rivera were shot and killed. He claimed he was also a victim, though investigators have since named him as the lead suspect in the case.

ImageMonday night, Ospina-Florez called 911 saying he and the Riveras had been shot. Police say that when they arrived, the crime scene was complicated and it took time to put things together.

Debra River, 55, was found in one of her home’s bathrooms, having been shot multiple times. Her husband, 56, was found dead in their driveway. He was on his way home from a neighbor’s house with a plate of food for his wife.

The couple had been married for more than 30 years.

A 9mm handgun owned by Ospina-Florez was found in the Rivera home and records show he had purchased ammunition at a WalMart the month prior to the slayings.

Ospina-Florez had worked for the Riveras for more than year, but their relationship with them had become strained recently. In January, the couple’s home was burglarized and police now suspect Ospina-Florez was behind the crime.

Court records show Ospina-Florez was in financial trouble, leading investigators to believe he was desperate and did the unthinkable.

Ospina-Florez is facing two counts of first degree murder with a firearm, and if found guilty of killing Dr. and Mrs. Rivera, he could face the death penalty.