Man on Trial for Sebring Bank Shooting Faces Death Sentence in Jury Selection

Sebring, Florida – Jury selection commences today in the penalty phase for Zephen Xaver, who fatally shot five women at a bank in Highlands County in 2019. The deliberations will determine whether Xaver will face a potential death sentence for his actions.

The tragic incident took place on January 23, 2019, at the SunTrust Bank in Sebring. Xaver entered the bank and proceeded to shoot four employees and a customer. After forcing the women to the floor, he opened fire before contacting emergency services. The victims, bank employees Ana PiƱon-Williams, Debra Cook, Marisol Lopez, Jessica Montague, and customer Cynthia Watson, all lost their lives in the senseless attack.

At the time of the shooting, Xaver was a 21-year-old former correctional officer trainee. In March 2023, he pleaded guilty to the crimes and wrote a letter of apology for his actions. The jury selection process is expected to last approximately two weeks, with the subsequent sentencing trial scheduled to span over two months.

The community continues to grapple with the aftermath of this tragedy, seeking closure and justice for the lives lost. Families of the victims, as well as the wider public, are closely following the legal proceedings surrounding Xaver’s case.

The impending decision on Xaver’s sentencing carries significant weight, serving as a pivotal moment in the pursuit of accountability for the heartbreaking events that transpired at the Sebring bank. As the proceedings unfold, the court will carefully consider the impact of Xaver’s actions on the victims’ loved ones and the broader community, as they seek to deliver a just outcome in this devastating case.