DAYTONA BEACH, FL (AP) -- A judge delivered death sentences Thursday to the ringleader and a participant in the bloody beating deaths of six people over an Xbox video game system.
Troy Victorino, 29, and Jerone Hunter, 20, were sentenced by Chief Circuit Judge Bill Parsons after their convictions on first-degree murder for the 2004 slaughter of six people in a Deltona house. Neither man showed emotion when the verdicts were read.
A jury recommended death for both Hunter and the 6-foot-7, 270-pound Victorino, but the final decision of life in prison without parole or death rested with Parsons.
Victorino organized the attacks with Hunter and two other younger men to retrieve the video game system and other belongings after he was kicked out of a house in which he was squatting.
Defense attorneys for the three other men found guilty painted him as a manipulative, menacing figure who threatened the others if they refused to participate.
The six victims suffered blows to the head causing severe skull fractures and brain injury, a medical examiner determined. Several of the bodies were also mutilated with stab wounds and cuts after death, and some victims were missing most of their teeth.
The judge ignored previous arguments by Hunter's attorney Ed Mills, who had argued his client should not received the death penalty because he suffers from schizophrenia. Jeff Dowdy, Victorino's attorney, had asked Parsons to spare his client because he has mental problems and was abused as a child.
Michael Salas and Robert Anthony Cannon, both 20, were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for their involvement. Cannon had pleaded guilty and agreed to testify for the prosecution, but declared his innocence at trial and refused to answer questions.
Killed were Erin Belanger, 22; Michelle Nathan, 19; Francisco Ayo-Roman, 30; Anthony Vega, 34; Roberto Gonzalez, 28, and Jonathan Gleason, 17. Many of the victims worked at a Burger King in