A Florida woman already behind bars awaiting trial for double murder is now accused of trying to have the key witness in her case killed.
When Fatima Garcia Avila, 21, allegedly revealed her role in a twisted double murder plot to a friend, she also told that person to keep quiet or “we will have to kill you.” Now, police say she tried to follow through with that threat and is charged with solicitation to commit murder.
On Tuesday, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office described the target of Garcia Avila’s alleged plot as “the prime witness” in her ongoing homicide case. Locked up at the Falkenburg Road Jail, Garcia Avila tried to get several inmates to kill this person.
Deputies said she had previously told the witness about allegedly killing victims Erica Aviles and Antonio Benito Cuellar-Enriquez.
“This is a woman who has no regard for life other than her own, and she continues to prove that even behind bars,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “I commend the work of the detention deputies and staff for being attentive, alert, and stopping another potential murder.”
Last year, deputies said Garcia Avila and her boyfriend Daniel Negrete, 28, targeted victim Aviles, the wife of Negrete’s cousin. The defendants allegedly maintained she was “a bad mother.”
Negrete and Garcia Avila drove to Aviles’ home on the night of July 18, 2022, authorities said. Negrete allegedly shot Aviles several times, killing her. Garcia Avila fled in a vehicle they arrived in, and Negrete stole a Chevy Avalanche truck, which they later burned, deputies claimed.
But that wasn’t all. The couple allegedly wanted to frame Cuellar-Enriquez, who was Garcia Avila’s ex-boyfriend, for Aviles’ murder. Garcia Aliva lured Cuellar-Enriquez to her home by texting him that she wanted to spend the night with him, deputies said.
Garcia Avila at first allegedly drugged him with an excessive amount of pain pills in order to cause an overdose. It did not work, so she called over Negrete, deputies said.
“Daniel Negrete then struck Antonio Cuellar-Enriquez on the head with a firearm and then there was a brief struggle before Daniel Negrete shot Antonio Cuellar-Enriquez multiple times,” authorities said. “Fatima Garcia yelled at Daniel Negrete not to shoot Antonio Cuellar-Enriquez just before the shots were fired,” the affidavit states. “After the shooting, Daniel Negrete and Fatima Garcia got into a brief physical altercation, during which Daniel Negrete threatened to shoot her. Fatima Garcia then grabbed the gun while it was in Daniel Negrete’s hand and made him raise it to her head, and she told him to just kill her but she did not believe he was ‘about that life.’”
After the shooting, Garcia Avila allegedly used Cuellar-Enriquez’s cellphone to send Aviles’ father an apology to make it seem like “he (Antonio) killed the girl (Erica) or knew someone who killed the girl.” The message, which was in Spanish, sought forgiveness and said, “This was not the plan.” Cuellar-Enriquez had previously worked at a tire shop owned by Aviles’ father and was close to the family.
The witness also said that Garcia Avila explained that they were supposed to make Cuellar-Enriquez’s death “look like a suicide or an overdose.”
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against the couple for charges including murder in the first degree. Negrete’s cousin Cornelio Negrete was also charged with helping plan the murder.