Alfaro, in contrast, seems to have few supporters now, apart from a loyal girlfriend who passionately defends him whenever an internet blog or news article about the murder appears. She uses the screen name Stacy. "This case is going to fall apart when it gets to trial," she wrote on one blog. "Waste of tax payer's money if you ask me."

A Facebook group titled "I Bet I Can Get 1 Million People to Hate Jose Alfaro" has 50 fans.

On January 11, 2010, Jose Alfaro and his public defender pleaded not guilty and asked for a jury trial. Two weeks later, prosecutors indicated they'd seek the death penalty.

Stevie Febonio with his father, Edwin, in happier times.
Photo courtesy Febonio family
Stevie Febonio with his father, Edwin, in happier times.
Many called Stevie  their "best friend."
Photo courtesy of the Febonio family
Many called Stevie their "best friend."

A trial date has not been set, but Alfaro had a preliminary court hearing on March 4. Eddie Febonio and Michael Pampillonia were there. Alfaro, mouth set in a grim line, legs shackled, and wearing a prisoner's blue-and-gray uniform, never glanced at them.

Asked if it was difficult to see Alfaro in court, Eddie Febonio said curtly: "No, it wasn't difficult. I wanted to see him."

Pampillonia felt differently. "This was a guy who came to my house, sat in my house so many times. Now when I see him, I want to strangle him with my bare hands," he said.

According to Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office documents, many of the witnesses interviewed by detectives openly worried about retribution against themselves or their families. If there was anything he hated, Alfaro said over and over, it was "a rat." They have good reason to hope Alfaro will never walk free again.

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