Fifth And Final Suspect Arrested In Machete Homestead Murder

The fifth and final suspect in the Homestead murder of 17-year-old Jose Santos Amaya Guardado, who was hacked to death by a machete, was made earlier this week.

According to the Miami Herald, 23-year-old Joseph Michael Cabrera was found by police in a St. Louis, Missouri, home. His exact charges are still unknown.

It is believed that Cabrera and four others, Kaheem Arbelo, 20, Jonathan Lucas, 18, Christian Colon, 19, and Desiray Strickland, 18, are responsible for the murder of Guardado.

Local 10 reported that the five suspects and the victim were all students at Homestead Job Corps. The center is a live-in school and vocational program training program for at-risk students run by the United States Department of Labor located in Homestead, Florida.

The five suspects allegedly spent two weeks planning the Homestead murder. A few day before they actually carried out the murder, they entered the woods near Homestead Job Corps and dug a shallow grave.

On Sunday, June 28, they lured Guardado into the woods. According to Strickland’s arrest report, the four other suspects then watched as Arbelo hacked Guardado down.

As Guardado lay dying, the group forced him to crawl into the grave they had dug a few days before. When Guardado made one last attempt to fight back, Arbelo attacked him again with the machete, hacking him so badly that his face caved in, according to the police report.

The suspects then buried him and attempted to hide the murder by disposing of the shovel and the machete, as well as burning Guardado’s belonging and their own clothes.

Even more disturbing, Strickland and Arbelo had sex in the woods after the Homestead murder.

Strickland pleaded not guilty on Monday to first-degree murder charges in the Homestead murder. She also faces charges of battery of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, and criminal mischief, according to Local 10.

The death penalty is expected to be sought by the state in the Homestead murder case.

Guardado’s body was found by his brother on July 1. He took 7News into the woods where he found his brother’s body, buried face down in the dirt.

“I start digging there. That’s where I found his foot, and they were burned.”

The medical examiner ruled that his death was a homicide.

Why the five suspects decided to murder Guardado is still unknown, but according to Local 10, a police source says he had been bullied before by the suspects and may have owed Arbelo money.

A trial date for Arbelo, Colon, and Lucas in the Homestead murder case has been set for October 19. However, if prosecutors decide to present the Homestead murder case to a grand jury and secure a first-degree murder indictment, the five suspects could be eligible for the death penalty.

Following the Homestead murder, Fall classes have been suspended at Homestead Job Corps.

Do you think the five suspects should receive the death penalty for the Homestead murder?

[Images via Pasco County Sheriff’s Department, Miami-Dade Corrections, and Miami-Dade Police]