A kindly Army veteran who stopped to help a stranded driver was killed by the very man he went to assist after it turned out the motorist was a hitman hired to murder him.
Carlos Cruz-Echevarria, 60, was killed in ‘planned execution’ on a quiet Deltona road, in Florida on Veteran’s Day.
Police say Kelsey Terrance McFoley, 28, paid suspected hitman Benjamin Jaquaric Antonio Bascom, 24, to kill Cruz-Echevarria to prevent him from testifying against him in a road rage case. Both suspects were arrested this week.
(Kelsey Terrance McFoley, left, and “hitman” Benjamin Jaquaric Antonio Bascom, right…)
Detectives say that Cruz-Echevarria was driving along a Deltona road, in Florida, in November, when he spotted a car which appeared to be stuck in a ditch.
Deciding to be a good Samaritan, he brought his truck to try and pull the vehicle free. But when he got out of his truck, he was shot dead and his truck was stolen.
Investigators say the trouble began on May 2, 2017, when Cruz-Echevarria was driving in Deltona and he honked at a vehicle that was stopped at a green light.
McFoley pulled up to Cruz-Echevarria at the next intersection, pulled out a gun and asked if he ‘had a problem?’ according to the police report.
‘McFoley reaches into his glove box, pulls out a gun, and threatens to shoot Carlos,’ said Sheriff Mike Chitwood.
The veteran called the police and was able to provide McFoley’s car registration.
McFoley, a convicted felon with more than two dozen previous charges, was arrested over the road rage case on June 1, 2017. If convicted, he would have faced a lengthy prison sentence in view of his previous convictions.
‘Somewhere along the line these three scumbags decide that Carlos has to die,’ said Chitwood.
Around three weeks before the execution-style murder, McFoley’s attorney filed a court notice indicating Cruz-Echevarria would testify in December – which included the witness’ home address.
Capt. Brian Henderson said McFoley hired hitman Bascom to kill Cruz-Echevarria to prevent him from ever making that testimony.
Bascom went to Cruz-Echevarria’s house on November 11, but he wasn’t in, so stalked the neighborhood looking for his victim.
While turning around in the street, he accidentally got his car stuck in a ditch.
That’s when Cruz-Echevarria pulled up behind him and offered to help.
When the good Samaritan bent over to get a better look at the car, Bascom shot him several times in the head, police say.
For several months, it appeared that Bascom had gotten away with the murder and the road rage charges against McFoley were dropped.
But eventually, DNA evidence was able to tie Bascom to both vehicles, and police were able to trace his phone records to the scene of the crime. His phone also revealed he’d been in touch with McFoley, who had instructed him how to carry out the murder, authorities said.
On Tuesday, McFoley and his girlfriend, Melissa Rios Roque, 21, who allegedly conspired with them to commit murder, were arrested.