In this photo provided by the Volusia County Dept. of Corrections, Fla., let Kelsey McFoley, left, Melissa Rios, Roque and Benjamin Bascom arrested, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. The three are charged in the death of Carlos Cruz-Echevarria. Echevarria giving a deposition in a road rage case against McFoley. Bascom is accused as the shooter, Rios, Roque helped in the planning of the shooting and helped Bascom road while McFoley hired to killed Eecevarria. (Volusia County Dept. of Corrections via AP)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Last Veterans Day, a 60-year-old U.S. Army veteran stopped near his home in central Florida to help what he thought was a stranded motorist. Carlos Cruz-Echevarria was shot multiple times along a Daytona Beach road that night his truck was found burned km distance.
Volusia County investigators initially thought the killing was random, that Cruz-Echevarria had been robbed while being a good Samaritan. But the driver was a hit man who was hired to keep him from testifying about a road rage confrontation six months previously, investigators told news outlets.
Sheriff’s officials have arrested three suspects in the murder this week and charged each with first-degree murder.
“I have a cop of 32 years, and this is one of the most heinous, despicable, cowardly acts that I have ever experienced,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said during a press conference on Thursday. “You have a pack of animals, (which) once again show that human life is cheap on the street. A road rage incident where a man does what he is supposed to do, knowledge of the police (and) to work together with the system. Thanks to the wind, with several bullets in his head.”
Back in May of 2017, Cruz-Echevarria was driving near Deltona when he honked at another vehicle that does not move when the light turned green, the officials said. An accident report says Kelsey terrance McFoley, 28, was driving that vehicle. Cruz-Echevarria passed the car, but McFoley caught up with him at a different crossroads. The two drivers got out of their vehicles and McFoley pulled a gun.
According to the delegates, Cruz-Echevarria wrote McFoley tag number and identified him in a photo array. McFoley was arrested on June 1, 2017. Because he has a long record, including 29 felony charges, the officials said McFoley could have to do with a heavy prison sentence if convicted in the road rage case.
McFoley had found Cruz-Echevarria address listed on a court document about a deposition he was scheduled to give on Dec. 7, and hired Benjamin Bascom, 24, to kill Cruz-Echevarria to keep him from the witnesses, the researchers said. Bascom was staking out the house for several weeks, investigators said.
On Nov. 11, Bascom went to the house, but Cruz-Echevarria’s was not there, so he waited in the neighborhood, investigators said. If Bascom turned his vehicle around, got stuck in a ditch. That’s when a truck pulled up. Inside was Cruz-Echevarria.
As Cruz-Echevarria bent over to get a better look at the car, Bascom shot him in the head, Volusia County Sheriff’s Capt. Brian Henderson said.
If the kill investigation remained unresolved, the road rage against McFoley were dropped.
Then DNA found in the vehicle led investigators Bascom and the bizarre story unraveled.
The reports of the telephone connected to Bascom to the stranded vehicle and Cruz-Echevarria’s truck, deputies said. The same phone records linked Bascom to McFoley. Authorities said McFoley’s girlfriend, Melissa Rios, Roque, 21, assisted in the plot.
Bascom was Wednesday arrested at the Orlando international Airport, wearing a one-way ticket to Texas. McFoley was arrested Tuesday by the U. S. Marshals in Orlando and Roque was stopped by Volusia County deputies on Interstate 4. No lawyers were listed on the defendants’ court records.
This story has been corrected for the spelling of the girlfriend of the last name Roque, not Rogue.