Man accused of sexually battering Hernando County teen hired hitmen to kill her: HCSO

Four people are facing charges in connection to a murder-for-hire conspiracy that left a 17-year-old Hernando County girl dead and her relative seriously injured. 

On February 6, 2023, deputies say Isabella Scavelli, 17, a Hernando High School junior, went to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office with a relative and said she was sexually battered by 36-year-old Lenard White, who is also known as Len, Mike Williams and Stick. 

According to Sheriff Al Nienhuis, the next night, Scavelli, and the same relative who went with her to the sheriff’s office, answered their door and were met by two men who opened fire on them.  

Scavelli was killed, and the other woman, who has not been publicly identified, was seriously injured. 

Sheriff Nienhuis said deputies with K9s responded to the home near the intersection of Hazel Avenue and Martin Luther King J. Blvd. in Brooksville around 11:30 p.m. on February 7. He added that the K9s tracked what they believed was the path of the suspects, or one of the suspects and found a shoe near the crime scene. 

According to the sheriff, DNA found on the shoe belonged to 22-year-old Keshawn Woods, a documented gang member.

White, the alleged sexual battery suspect, immediately became a suspect in the double shooting, according to HCSO. Officials say White went on an unplanned, spontaneous trip to Georgia the same day the teen reported the alleged sexual battery to try and create an alibi to avoid prosecution. 

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The sheriff said White paid Sheldon Robinson, 21, about $10,000 to murder the teen. Robinson asked for help via social media saying he had a ‘clean up job’ to do and he would give anyone willing to help him $5,000 and cocaine, according to HCSO. 

Suspect's social media post. Image is courtesy of the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

Suspect's social media post. Image is courtesy of the Hernando County Sheriff's Office. 

The sheriff says Woods took the bait. 

According to HCSO, deputies with a search warrant found about $4,000 in cash, a gun and illegal drugs at Woods' home. They also found Robinson had about $6,000, the rest of the $10,000. According to the sheriff, Janet Williams, his mother, found the $6,000 in her home and was not forthcoming to law enforcement about the money. 

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While searching the getaway car, deputies say they found the other shoe that matched the one found at the crime scene. 

Law enforcement vehicles outside double shooting scene in Brooksville.

Law enforcement vehicles outside double shooting scene in Brooksville. 

The sheriff said ammunition matching the gun used at the crime scene was found at Robinson’s home. He’s been detained since February 9, 2023. 

HCSO says, working in conjunction with the ATF, law enforcement officials recently found a gun hidden in the backyard of Robinson’s home. Sheriff Nienhuis says when the ballistics test came back, it showed that the gun was used to shoot the victims.    

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"When you have a 17-year-old, and this particular victim, we have every reason to believe she was not engaged in any high-risk activity. She was a good kid with a very bright future and to see her life cut short is heart-wrenching to say the least. Words cannot even express it," the sheriff said. 

Pictured: Isabella Scavelli

Pictured: Isabella Scavelli

White has been in jail since February 15, 2023, on sexual battery charges. The sheriff added more federal charges will be added. 

Woods was located and arrested last week in Brooksville by agents with the ATF and deputies with HCSO and arrested. The sheriff says Woods did spend time in jail in February but was released. He has been charged by the state with felon in possession of a firearm, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of a new drug and possession of paraphernalia, according to Sheriff Nienhuis.

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Robinson has been in jail since February 9, 2023, on charges of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and cocaine trafficking. He has also been charged with felon in possession of a firearm.

Suspects mugshots courtesy of the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

Suspects mugshots courtesy of the Hernando County Sheriff's Office. 

The three men have also been charged federally with one count of conspiracy to commit murder for hire, one count of murder for hire and two counts of using a firearm during a crime of violence. 

White and Robinson have also been federally charged with conspiring to possess controlled substances for distribution, tampering with a witness, and obstruction of justice. 

Williams, who was also located and arrested last week by ATF agents and HCSO deputies, has been charged the three counts of making false statements to an ATF agent. 

If convicted White, Robinson and Woods are facing a mandatory term of life in federal prison and Williams is facing 15 years in federal prison.