BROOKSVILLE Steven Wesolek sported a gold chain.
It belonged to Ricky Acevedo, the man Wesolek fatally stabbed less than 24 hours earlier.
Wesolek was wearing it while being interviewed by a detective assigned to investigate Acevedo's murder. Prosecutor Pete Magrino didn't think it was Wesolek's lack of self-awareness that led to him flashing the incriminating evidence at the worst possible time.
Magrino suggested it was a gesture of self-promotion.
"He was still wearing his trophies," Magrino told jurors Wednesday morning during his closing arguments.
He asked jurors to recommend a death sentence for the 21-year-old Wesolek.
Jurors instead recommended a life sentence for Wesolek, who was convicted last week in the June 20, 2010 fatal carjacking along Ayers Road near Brooksville.
Wesolek showed little or no reaction as the verdict was read by the clerk Wednesday afternoon in Hernando County Circuit Court.
Acevedo's family filed out of the courtroom moments after the sentencing recommendation was announced. His mother, Carmen Acevedo, audibly wept as she left.
They returned to the courtroom in time for the judge to sentence the defendant.
Wesolek, who at times seemed carefree and playful during the seven-day trial, declined to apologize or make any other statements to the judge prior to being sentenced.
Wesolek was convicted of first-degree murder, attempted murder, carjacking and robbery with a deadly weapon.
He was sentenced to four life sentences on all four charges, which will be served concurrently.
Wesolek's former girlfriend, Sabrina Dicus, 16, pleaded guilty last year in the slaying and awaits sentencing. She faces up to 30 years in prison. Dicus' mother, Sherrie, 40, is expected to be tried later this year. She faces life in prison if convicted.
Acevedo was killed and his girlfriend at the time, Skyler Collins, was choked with a nylon strap as all five rode in a 2001 Ford Mustang eastbound along Ayers.
Acevedo was driving and Wesolek sat behind him. The suspect stabbed him repeatedly in the head, neck and shoulder.
Collins survived her injuries.
"He clearly knew the difference between right and wrong on June 20, 2010," Magrino told jurors. "He knew murdering Ricky Acevedo was wrong. He knew stealing Skyler Collins' automobile was wrong … but he did it anyway."
While Magrino described the nature of Acevedo's injuries — the eight stab wounds — the victim's mother left the courtroom crying. Moments later, Acevedo's sister, with tears rolling down her cheeks, also rushed toward the exit.
Magrino called the killing "heinous, atrocious and cruel."
None of the 12 jurors and neither of the two alternate jurors wished to comment as they left the courthouse Wednesday.