ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Two of the three men convicted of killing six young people with baseball bats in a dispute over an Xbox video game system should be executed, a jury said Tuesday.
Death was recommended for ringleader Troy Victorino, 29, and Jerone Hunter, 20, and life in prison for Michael Salas, 20. All three were convicted last week of six counts of first-degree murder.
The jury deliberated almost three hours before making its recommendation to Chief Circuit Judge Bill Parsons.
Early on Aug. 6, 2004, four men broke into a house in Deltona, slaying the six victims.
Prosecutors said Victorino was angry with victim Erin Belanger, 22, who had him evicted when she found him living in her grandmother's home in Deltona. She kept some of his belongings, including some clothing and the video game system.
The jury recommended death on four of the six murder counts for both Victorino and Hunter. Life in prison was recommended for the others.
As the recommendations were read, Victorino did not look at the jury. Hunter flinched when the first recommendation for death was read but kept his composure, looking forward. Salas leaned back in his chair and sighed with relief after it was clear the jury had not recommended death for him.
Attorneys for Hunter and Salas had argued that their clients were intimidated by the 6-foot-7-inch, 270-pound Victorino, and wouldn't have entered the house if they had not been threatened and coerced.
Besides Belanger, the victims were Francisco Ayo-Roman, 30; Michelle Nathan, 19; Anthony Vega, 34; Roberto Gonzalez, 28; and Jonathan Gleason, 17.