HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. – A female teen who reported a sexual assault was murdered shortly thereafter. Now four people have been federally indicted in connection to the $10,000 murder-for-hire plot to eliminate her, the Department of Justice confirmed.
The murder victim was identified as 17-year-old Isabella Scavelli. She showed up at the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office in Florida on Feb. 6 and said Lenard White, 36, had sexually battered her.
On Feb. 7, Scavelli was fatally shot four times at her home alongside her mother who accompanied her in filing the crime report after two men knocked on the victim’s door and opened fire, the New York Post reported.
Murder victim Isabella Scavelli. (Handout)
Scavelli’s mother was seriously injured in the shooting, Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said at the press conference Thursday.
U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida Roger Handberg said during the press conference that Scavelli was shot in the back.
“The bullet that caused her death entered her lower left back area, suggesting that she was shot in the back as she was trying to run for cover,” Handberg noted.
Lenard White is accused of hiring two hitmen to kill Isabella Scavelli. (Hernando County Sheriff’s Office)
White is accused of paying Keshawn Woods, 22, and Sheldon Robinson, 21, to murder the teen, reported WFLA.
Keshawn Woods (Hernando County Sheriff’s Office)
Sheldon Robinson (Hernando County Sheriff’s Office)
“She (Scavelli) was a good kid with a very bright future and to see her life cut short was heart-wrenching to say the least,” Nienhuis said at the press conference.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida provided the following details in a press release:
United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the return of an indictment charging Brooksville residents Lenard White (36), a/k/a “Len,” “Mike Williams,” and “Stick,” Sheldon Robinson (21), a/k/a “Poboy,” and Keshawn Woods (22) with conspiracy to commit murder for hire, murder for hire, discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence which caused the death of I.S., and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime. White and Robinson were also charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, tampering with a witness, and obstruction of justice. Janet Williams (44, Brooksville), Robinson’s mother, has been charged with multiple counts of false statements to federal agents.
If convicted on all counts, White, Robinson, and Woods each face mandatory life imprisonment, or the federal death penalty. Williams faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison for each of the three false statement counts.
According to the indictment and evidence presented in court, on February 6, 2023, a 17-year-old victim (I.S.) and her mother (L.P.) went to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office to report that I.S. had been sexually assaulted by White. White then contracted with Robinson and Woods to murder I.S. for $10,000 to prevent her from further pursuing criminal charges against him.
The following day, Robinson and Woods arrived at I.S. and L.P.’s home and knocked on the door. When the door was opened, a barrage of gunshots were fired at I.S. and L.P. I.S. was shot four times and killed. L.P. was struck by gunfire but survived.
As the federal investigation of I.S.’s murder progressed, White, Robinson, and Williams attempted to hinder the investigation by disposing of evidence, tampering with witnesses, obstructing justice, and making false statements to law enforcement.
Video image reportedly shows Robinson displaying cash and cocaine while recruiting Woods’ help.
On October 26, Janet Williams made her initial appearance in federal court. She was subsequently released to home confinement.
On Wednesday, Keshawn Woods made his first appearance in federal court. He was ordered to be held without bail.
White and Robinson remain in state custody, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. They are scheduled to make their initial appearances in federal court on November 9.