LaBelle man found guilty of murdering FWC Officer Julian Keen

Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Eliceo Hernandez, 23. Credit: Hendry County Sheriff’s Office

A 23-year-old LaBelle man was found guilty Thursday night of murdering FWC Officer Julian Keen in June 2020.

According to the State Attorney’s Office, Eliceo Hernandez was found guilty of second-degree murder with a firearm and attempted second-degree murder for shooting and killing off-duty Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Julian Keen Jr. The jury returned the guilty verdict just after 6 p.m. after a three-day trial in Hendry County.

On June 14, 2020, Keen was at his LaBelle home with a friend when they heard a loud crash. They looked outside and noticed a black truck leaving the scene of an accident. Keen and his friend both drove after the black truck along CR-78 and through a convenience store parking lot when the suspect, Hernandez, turned north on Nobles Road. Keen’s friend rear-ended the black truck, causing it to go off of the roadway.

Hernandez maintained control and traveled north a short distance before Keen’s friend struck the black truck once again, trying to get it to stop. Hernandez lost control and crashed into a ditch at Nobles Road and Apache Circle. Keen then drove into the convenience store parking lot and walked to the crash scene.

Hernandez grabbed his gun, jumped out of his truck and got into a black Dodge Charger driven by his girlfriend. They drove around the block and returned to the crash scene. He got out of the car and shot at Keen and his friend. One bullet struck and killed Keen.

Right after the shooting, Hernandez returned to the car and drove away. An investigation by the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office led to his arrest.

Sentencing has been scheduled for March 30.

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