Deputies make an arrest in murder of Avila couple

TAMPA - Deputies arrested Julian Ospina Florez for the murder of a couple in their Avila home.

Authorities say Dr. Hector Rivera's wife suspected that Florez was responsible for stealing items from her business shortly before she and her husband were murdered.

Hector Rivera, 76, was found outside his home.  His wife Debra, 55, was found in a bathroom in the couple's 11,000 square-foot home after the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office received a report of shots fired around 8:00 p.m.

Detectives say 30-year-old Florez had been Debra's professional driver and assistant for the past year.  Debra owned Distinctive Creations, a high-end costume jewelry and hand bag business. 

Authorities say Debra had recently grown distrustful of Florez and reported a huge jewelry theft last week. 

On Monday night, Florez was driving Debra home from the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota when the two had gotten into an argument. 

Florez shot Debra in the home, authorities said. Her husband, Hector, had returned home to watch the Alabama-LSU champion football game and bring his wife food when he stumbled upon the incident. Hector was also fatally shot.

Sheriff David Gee called it a 'brutal' slaying.

The suspect called police and claimed that he had been attacked. However, authorities found a gun registered to the suspect at the scene.

Receipts for the gun's ammunition were found in the suspect's car.

Avila is an exclusive, highly protected subdivision that has been home to many well-known personalities.

Florez, who was born in Columbia, came to the U.S. 11 years ago and became a U.S. citizen.

He will make his first appearance in court 8:30 Wednesday morning.

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