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Candlelight vigil for teen beaten to death with baseball bat ends in the woods where he was killed

Hundreds gathered to honor 15-year-old killed by
Posted at 10:53 PM, Mar 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-22 23:27:38-04

LAKE WALES, Fla. — Hundreds gathered at the spot in the woods where authorities say 15-year-old Giovanni Diaz was killed by his best friend.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Diaz was murdered by Dillen Murray, 16, on Monday. The details released by the sheriff’s office difficult for everyone to comprehend.  

RELATED | Lake Wales 16-year-old allegedly beats friend to death with baseball bat over a girl, officials say

Judd said Murray admitted to the attack saying he hit Diaz, “At least 9 times in the head and face with the bat," Sheriff Judd said. "During his confession, he admitted that Gio never attacked him, never hit him and that he, in fact, was the only one who did any hitting.”

On Thursday, Diaz’s father, Jose, said he knew his son’s spirit was walking alongside hundreds who came out to his Lake Wales neighborhood to walk in the candlelight vigil.

“I hope my son I know he is here with us and not only in this community but the entire state of Florida,” Diaz said. “It’s very hurtful. He helped everyone, everyone. Very smart, caring, compassionate so many things I could say about my son.”

Judd said the motive for the cold-blooded murder was jealousy over a girl. Sheriff Judd says Murray was arrested two years ago for two counts of battery, also against Diaz. He was also arrested last year for battery against his own father.

Jose Diaz wishes more had been done to protect his son.

“It’s very hard, it’s very hard for me to process this. If somethings going to happen please say something, something. A lot of these tragedies can be prevented. It’s terrible that my son lost his life like this."

Murray was booked into the Juvenile Assessment Center Monday. He is charged with first-degree murder, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.

It will be up to the state attorney's office if Murray is charged as an adult, Judd stated they will be requesting that he is.