ST. AUGUSTINE, Florida – Two men told detectives that they used baseball bats to beat two of the six people they are charged with murdering, a sheriff's investigator testified Monday in the trial stemming from a revenge killing apparently started over an Xbox video game system.
Volusia County investigator Larry Horzepa said Jerone Hunter admitted hitting two men several times and Michael Salas told authorities he hit one of the victims from three to five times at the Deltona home on Aug. 6, 2004.
In the statements to investigators, Salas said he struck the victim on the arms, leg and back, but "I didn't hit nobody in the head. I didn't go for any head shots."
Hunter and Salas are on trial along with Troy Victorino, 29, a former prison inmate who is believed to be the ringleader in the violent attacks. The three are charged with first-degree murder, mutilating a dead human body and other felonies. If the men are convicted, prosecutors will seek the death penalty.
Investigators said Victorino became angry when Erin Belanger took his Xbox and some clothing from her grandparents' vacant home where he had been squatting. A group of people later entered another home where the victims lived and stabbed and clubbed them with baseball bats.
A fourth man, Robert Cannon, 20, pleaded guilty in October to all the charges. But when he took the stand last week, he refused to testify and said he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea, saying he was innocent.
Killed were Belanger, 22; Michelle Nathan, 19; Francisco Ayo-Roman, 30; Anthony Vega, 34; Roberto Gonzalez, 28, and Jonathan Gleason, 17.