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Troy Victorino - Florida
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  1. #1
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    Oct 2010

    Troy Victorino - Florida

    Summary of Offense:

    On the morning of August 6, 2004, Christopher Carroll arrived at 3106 Telford Lane in Deltona. He was there to pick up several co-workers who lived at that address. Upon entering the home, he found blood and several dead bodies. Carroll then called 911. Deputy Anthony Crane and other law enforcement officers arrived at the scene. They found the bodies of six victims: Erin Belanger, Jonathan Gleason, Francisco Roman, Roberto Gonzalez, Michelle Nathan, and Anthony Vega. They also found a deceased dog with a crushed skull. The dog was eventually identified as Belanger’s dachshund, George. Autopsies indicated that all of the victims died from blunt force trauma to the head, with some of the victims exhibiting post-mortem stab wounds. Robert Cannon, one of the codefendants, testified that on August 5, 2004, Michael Salas, Troy Victorino, Brandon Graham, and Jerone Hunter met at Victorino’s home. A few weeks prior to the murders, Victorino had been squatting in a house owned by Belanger’s grandmother. Victorino believed that Belanger had taken his Xbox and some of his other belongings from the house. Victorino said he wanted his belongings back. He also said that he wanted to use lead pipes to kill all of the individuals residing in the Telford home.

    Cannon, Salas, Victorino, Graham, and Hunter agreed to commit the murders at 10:00 that night. Graham asked Cannon to drop him off at a friend’s house. Graham did not rejoin the group later that night and did not participate in the murders. Crime scene technicians took photographs of shoe impressions inside the house. The technicians also collected a knife handle, knife blade, and four metal bats from inside the house. One of the shoe impressions was consistent with a tennis shoe owned by Hunter. They also recovered a shoelace containing DNA from Hunter and the victim Gonzalez. Crime scene technicians also recovered evidence from Cannon’s vehicle. They found glass fragments that matched a broken lamp from the Telford home. Sunglasses containing Roman’s fingerprints were also recovered from the vehicle. Detective Lawrence Horzepa, of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, interviewed Hunter on August 7, 2004. Hunter confessed to his involvement in the murders. Hunter said that he hit Gleason and Gonzalez with a baseball bat repeatedly, although he was uncertain as to the exact number of blows. Horzepa also interviewed Salas. Salas confessed to his involvement in the murders, and said that Hunter killed Nathan by stabbing her in the chest. He also said that he disposed of the murder weapons in a retention pond. The Sheriff’s Office dive team recovered the four baseball bats used in the murders from a pond in Debary, Florida.

    Victorino was sentenced to death in Volusia County on September 22, 2006.

    Co-defendant information:
    Jeron Hunter received a death sentence. For more on Hunter, see: http://www.cncpunishment.com/forums/...rida-Death-Row
    Robert Cannon pled guilty to all charges in exchange for a life sentence.
    Michael Salas was sentenced to life imprisonment.


  2. #2
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    Oct 2010
    November 24, 2009

    Fla. court upholds death sentence in Xbox murders

    The Florida Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for the ringleader of a mass killing over an Xbox video game system.

    The court ruled Wednesday that Troy Victorino's individual claims of error in the 2004 case were without merit and that he was properly convicted of six counts of first-degree murder for killing six people in a Deltona vacant house.

    Crime analysts said DNA evidence showed a pair of Lugz boots stained with the blood of several victims belonged to Victorino and that bloody prints matching the boots were found at the crime scene.

    The case was moved from DeLand to St. Augustine after it was determined Victorino could not select an impartial jury because of intense news coverage.


  3. #3
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    Oct 2010
    Case Information:

    Victorino filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 10/23/06, citing the following issues: (1) Denial of pretrial motion to suppress DNA samples; (2) Denial of motion to suppress physical evidence seized from defendantís residence; (3) Denial of motion to separate trial from two codefendants; (4) Admission of evidence of uncharged misconduct; (5) Jury instructional error; (6) Change of trial venue; (7) Denial of request for additional peremptory challenges; (8) Denial of motion for mistrial when codefendant testified; (9) Denial of motion for judgment of acquittal; (10) Denial of due process during arrest and service of warrant; (11) Heinous, atrocious, and cruel aggravator; (12) Cold, calculated, and premeditated aggravator; (13) Mental health mitigator; (14) Proportionality of death sentence; (15) Constitutionality of death sentence. Oral Arguments were held on 02/03/09. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentence on 11/25/09. A mandate was issued on 12/17/09. A motion for rehearing (pro se) was filed on 01/11/10 and was stricken on 01/21/1.

    Victorino filed a 3.851 Motion in the State Circuit Court on 12/09/10. This case is currently pending.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2010

    Crime lab contamination central in Victorino's 2nd death sentence appeal

    A "major DNA contamination problem" in 2005 at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's crime lab in Orlando will be at the center of an appeal hearing this week by Troy Victorino, the leader of the group convicted of the 2004 "Xbox murders" in Deltona, defense lawyers say.

    Victorino, 35, has been on death row for the murders of six people since his conviction at trial in 2006. The Florida Supreme Court in 2009 denied Victorino's direct appeal. On Wednesday, he will be led into a courtroom in shackles for his second attempt at an appeal.

    According to court documents, in the months between the murders of six friends and a dog on Telford Lane and the trial of the four killers, there was a contamination issue at the state crime lab. The lab in Orlando, which handles crime scene evidence for the region, received dirty vials from a supplier and unknowingly used them, leading to strange results.

    FDLE officials, who were accused of keeping the problem quiet at the time, insist they identified the issue, cleaned all equipment in the lab and reran the samples in 19 affected cases. But Victorino's lawyers say the problems at the lab were not disclosed while the case was being heard, amounting to a violation of Victorino's rights to a fair trial.

    Had the problem been disclosed, Victorino's appellate lawyer Christopher Anderson wrote in court documents, the DNA evidence used against Victorino "could have" been excluded. "This would have resulted in (Victorino) not being convicted and not receiving a jury death recommendation."

    That's a big "if," Charlie Rose, a professor of law at Stetson University College of Law said last week. "It all depends on what the evidence is, and what value that evidence had in getting a conviction," he said.

    On Aug. 6, 2004, Victorino led Jerone Hunter, Robert Cannon and Michael Salas to 3106 Telford Lane. The group kicked in the door, and armed with bats ambushed the six people who were sleeping inside.

    Killed in the slaughter were Erin Belanger, 22, Francisco "Flaco" Ayo-Roman, 30, Roberto "Tito" Gonzalez, 28, Michelle Nathan, 19, Anthony Vega, 34, and Jonathan Gleason, 17.

    Victorino and Hunter were sentenced to die for the murders, which captured national attention because of their brutality. The two other participants, Salas and Cannon, were sentenced to life in prison.

    Since then, lawyers for Hunter and Victorino have been trying to get them off death row.

    "I only want what is right, a fair shake," Victorino wrote to his lawyer, who will argue Victorino was denied a fair trial on a number of grounds, including the DNA contamination problem at the crime lab.

    "I keep feeling as if I've being thrown to the wolves," Victorino wrote in another letter.

    Records show Victorino got married in 2009 while incarcerated at Union Correctional Institution in Raiford. His wife, Cheyenne Victorino, 41, is a former corrections officer, according to her LinkedIn profile found online.

    Among reasons Victorino cites in seeking a new trial and sentence are claims that co-defendants Salas and Hunter set him up.

    Victorino also says his court-appointed trial lawyers -- Jeff Dowdy and Michael Nielsen -- didn't do all they could to save him from being convicted.

    Rose, who teaches criminal law at Stetson College of Law, said the "ineffective assistance of counsel" claims of Victorino's appeal are always brought but difficult to prove.

    Defense lawyers get great leeway in how they defend a case, he said.

    But the claim of new evidence could be more interesting, Rose said.

    According to police records, Victorino stood six-feet-five inches tall and weighed 270 lbs. at the time of the murders. The others were less than five-feet-eight inches tall and lighter than 142 lbs.

    At trial, co-defendants Salas and Hunter testified that Victorino orchestrated the killings. Cannon, who pleaded no contest in a plea deal but later balked on the stand, testified that he and Salas were in fear for their lives.

    "We had no choice," Cannon testified. He insisted that if he hadn't gone along, Victorino "would have killed me."

    Victorino was tied to the scene of the murders through DNA evidence. For one thing, police found his DNA in a pair of Lugz boots said to be his, marked with blood evidence from three of the victims. Defense lawyers said there were other donors of DNA in the boots, meaning someone else may have worn them.

    Victorino, who testified in his own defense at the trial that he was at a nightclub when the killings occurred, continues to deny that he went into the house or struck anyone.

    "His age and great size make him vulnerable to claims that he dominated and intimidated them," his lawyer, Anderson, wrote in the appeal.

    Most of his claims are not new. Lawyers for Victorino raised similar arguments when they appealed unsuccessfully to the Florida Supreme Court.

    But for the first time, the validity of the DNA evidence used at Victorino's trial is being called into question because of a possible contamination problem at the crime lab.

    His lawyers want the court to allow them to question FDLE officials about the "crime-lab" breakdown to determine if that might point to Victorino's evidence. Rose, the law professor, said granting the request could solidify the conviction for the state.

    "It may very well be a way of putting the final nail in the coffin, so to speak," he said.

    The hearing on the post-conviction issues is expected to take about a week.

    Bill Belanger, whose daughter's blood was found on Victorino's boots, laughed when he heard that Victorino got married in 2009, while on death row. "I wish the happy couple well," he said.

    In a letter Cheyenne Victorino wrote earlier this year, Victorino's bride expressed complaints from her husband about not hearing enough from his lawyer.

    "I understand that you are busy or you don't want to speak with me," she wrote to Anderson. "That's OK, but you are not only affecting just Troy's life. You are affecting our entire family. We need him home as soon as possible."

    Belanger doesn't think that will happen. He said his biggest fear would be if Victorino were released from death row, and into the general population.

    "He'd be a top dog if that happened," Belanger said. "Look, right now, he's living in a room the size of my bathroom. Let's keep him there."


  5. #5
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    Oct 2010
    'Xbox Murders' Ringleader Returns To Court

    The man in the so-called "Xbox murders" in 2004 returned to court Wednesday to ask for a new trial.

    Ringleader Troy Victorino was sentenced to death in connection to the beating and stabbing deaths of six young people in Deltona in 2004.

    Victorino now says the two attorneys that represented him failed to object to false claims made by prosecutors during the 2006 trial. He claims there were about a dozen items that prejudiced the jury and sent him to death row.

    Victorino, now 35, said nothing in court Wednesday and let a new attorney, Chris Anderson, grill the old attorneys on the stand about their alleged failures.

    Among them, Anderson says that they didn't call for a mistrial when co-defendant Robert Cannon called Victorino the ringleader, then refused to be cross examined.

    "I believe that we did call for a mistrial during that episode. It was pretty chaotic in the courtroom," recalled former defense attorney Jeff Dowdy.

    Authorities said Victorino and three others burst into a Deltona home in 2004 and took baseball bats and knives to the victims as revenge because one of them refused to give Victorino back some belongings, including an Xbox.

    Victorino maintained that he wasn't there, but at trial the state destroyed his alibi witnesses.

    The appeals lawyer questioned why the trial lawyers went with the alibi defense.

    "He told us that he was not guilty of the crime, that he didn't do it, and that he was not there and that he had an airtight alibi," claimed former defense attorney Michael Nielsen.

    The appellate counsel says Victorino's trial lawyers failed on a number of other fronts, including not objecting to gruesome photo evidence and that victim impact statements that went too far.

    WESH 2 News asked Anderson how Victorino is doing on death row.

    "Death row sucks, does that answer your question?" Anderson said.

    Victorino got married while in prison in 2009 to a former corrections officer. She was not present in the courtroom Wednesday, nor were family members of the victims.


  6. #6
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    Oct 2010
    Judge denies mass murderer Troy Victorino's appeal

    A circuit judge in Volusia County on Tuesday denied mass murderer Troy Victorino's claims that his defense attorneys were ineffective during his trial in the 2004 murders of six people in Deltona.

    Chris Anderson, a court-appointed, post-conviction defense attorney, argued ineffective assistance of counsel on more than a dozen points last month.

    Judge William A. Parsons ruled Anderson and his 35-year-old client failed to prove any of his claims.

    In fact, in once instance involving statements Victorino's defense attorneys made about DNA evidence, Parsons wrote in his 26-page ruling: "In this case the attorneys employed a sound and thoughtful trial strategy that cannot form the basis of an ineffective claim."

    Victorino was sentenced to the death penalty in four of the slayings and life in prison in the other two.


  7. #7
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    Oct 2010

    Deltona murderer's cohorts beat man with bat, deputies say

    Naomi Kogut is charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after deputies say they beat a man with a bat. She and her sister were associates of Troy Victorino who along with four other men were convicted in the killings of six people in a Deltona house.

    Maniqca Kogut and her sister beat a man with a bat in a dispute that started over a baby being left at a doorstep, deputies say.

    Two Deltona sisters who were friends with the ringleader of the 2004 Telford Lane murders -- committed with baseball bats and knives -- were arrested over the weekend and charged with using bats to beat a man, sheriff's reports show.

    Naomi Kogut, 21, and her sister, Maniqca Kogut, 28, beat Joseph Durrance in the forearm and back with bats and smashed his car's rear windshield as he tried to flee from them, deputies said.

    The Koguts were friends with Troy Victorino, who was convicted along with accomplices of killing six people with bats and knives inside a Telford Lane home on Aug. 6, 2004, authorities said. He was sentenced to death.

    Durrance, 23, is the father of Naomi Kogut's child, the report states.

    Deputies said Durrance went to 581 Tradewinds Drive home Friday at 6:45 p.m. to tell Naomi Kogut that he did not like it when she left their child outside his Newmark Drive house and drove off without telling him.

    Durrance said he was arguing with Naomi Kogut's new boyfriend at the Tradewinds Drive house when the women attacked him, according to the report.

    Deputies found a 6-inch welt on Durrance's back and a second large welt on his forearm.

    Maniqca Kogut was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon; Naomi Kogut was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor criminal mischief.

    Both Koguts left the Volusia County Branch Jail on Saturday after posting bail. Naomi Kogut was released on $6,000 bail and Maniqca Kogut posted $5,000 bail, a booking officer said.

    Prosecutors said Victorino, 35, was the ringleader who planned the Telford Lane deaths. An accomplice, Jerone Hunter, is also on death row for the murders.

    Serving life sentences are Robert Cannon and Michael Salas.

    Killed were Erin Belanger, 22; Francisco “Flaco” Ayo-Roman, 30; Anthony Vega, 34; Roberto “Tito” Gonzalez, 28; Michelle Nathan, 19; Jonathan Gleason, 17. A pet dog, a dachshund, was stomped to death by Victorino.

    Volusia County Sheriff's Office investigators said the killings were over an X-box game but prosecutors said at the 2006 trial that Victorino, who considered himself a Latin Kings gang member, carried out the brutal attacks because he felt disrespected.

    Prior the deadly attacks in 2004, officials say the Koguts slashed the tires of a car outside the Telford Lane home when they accompanied Victorino as he went to the home to try to get back belongings from Belanger.

    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  8. #8
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    Oct 2010
    Deltona X-box mass killer Troy Victorino takes appeal to Florida Supreme Court

    Nearly nine years after the grisly discovery of six bodies in a Central Florida home, an attorney for one of the convicted murderers argued Thursday that a mistrial should have been sought in the case and that his client had been wrongly portrayed as the ringleader.

    Christopher Anderson, an appellate attorney for death-row inmate Troy Victorino, told the Florida Supreme Court that another defendant in what became known as Deltona's "Xbox murders" refused to be cross-examined while testifying during the trial.

    Anderson contended that Victorino's trial attorneys improperly failed to seek a mistrial when that refusal took place.

    Anderson said the lack of cross-examination helped lead to the conclusion that his client was the ringleader in the killings in a Deltona home --- a notion that Anderson disputed. Victorino and three other men were convicted in the case, which involved the victims being beaten with baseball bats.

    "He was framed as the ringleader, and that's what got him the death penalty,'' Anderson said.

    But Senior Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Nunnelley offered another explanation for the death sentence: He said Victorino "deserved it." Nunnelley said Victorino wanted to retrieve some belongings from the home, including an Xbox video-game system, and kicked in the door, shattering the dead-bolt lock.

    At least some of the justices also appeared skeptical of Anderson's arguments, which centered on the refusal by defendant Robert Cannon to be cross-examined. Cannon had negotiated a plea agreement in which he was a witness for the state.

    Anderson said Cannon claimed the 6-foot-7 Victorino had bullied him into taking part in the bludgeoning deaths, a claim that the appellate attorney described as "nonsense." But Justice Charles Canady appeared to flatly reject that argument.

    "He was afraid of him --- and apparently with quite good reason,'' Canady said.

    The August 2004 murders drew national attention, at least in part because of their gruesome nature and the number of victims. Victorino, now 36, has been depicted as the ringleader since the time of the killings and was convicted on six counts of first-degree murder, along with other charges.

    In addition to Victorino, defendant Jerone Hunter, now 26, was sentenced to death. Cannon and Michael Salas, both 27, received life sentences. The victims, who were discovered in various rooms of the blood-stained house, were Erin Belanger, Roberto Gonzalez, Michelle Nathan, Anthony Vega, Jonathon Gleason and Francisco Ayo-Roman.

    The Supreme Court in 2009 upheld Victorino's convictions and death sentence in what is known as a "direct" appeal. But the arguments Thursday were more narrowly tailored to arguments that he had received ineffective legal representation.

    If the appeal is successful, Anderson said Victorino could receive a new trial or a new sentencing hearing. It typically takes justices months to issue rulings.

    Anderson said, for example, the portrayal of Victorino as a ringleader could have influenced the decision of jurors to call for the death penalty.

    "It's really critical to the life versus death decision, in particular,'' Anderson said.

    At one point, however, Justice Peggy Quince scoffed at the suggestion that Victorino might have only gone to the Deltona home with the intent to "rough people up" and get belongings he thought were there.

    "So he went in to rough up people with a baseball bat?'' she asked.

    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  9. #9
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    Oct 2010
    No. SC12-482


    No. SC12-2123


    In today's Florida Supreme Court opinions, the court AFFIRMED the postconviction court's ruling denying Victorino's 3.851 motion, and also DENIED Victorino's petition for a writ of habeas corpus
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  10. #10
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    And the article

    Florida Supreme Court rejects appeal from Deltona killer Troy Victorino

    The state Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously rejected a wide-ranging appeal by a death row inmate who was accused of being the ringleader in the murders of six people in a Central Florida home ó a case that became known as the "Xbox murders."

    Troy Victorino challenged his convictions and death sentences, focusing heavily on whether he received ineffective legal representation before going to death row.

    In part, Victorino contended that his trial attorneys should have sought a mistrial when another defendant in the case, Robert Cannon, refused to be cross-examined after giving some testimony against Victorino.

    But the justices found that Cannon's refusal to be cross-examined did not cause such harm that it warranted a new trial in the killings, which happened at a home on Deltona's Telford Lane.

    The August 2004 murders drew national attention, at least in part because of their gruesome nature and the number of victims. Also, the case became known as the "Xbox murders" because it involved a dispute about some of Victorino's belongings, including an Xbox video-game system.

    Victorino and three other men were accused of breaking into the house and bludgeoning the victims with baseball bats. Now 36, Victorino was convicted on six counts of first-degree murder, along with other charges.

    Co-defendant Jerone Hunter was sentenced to death, while two others, Cannon and Michael Salas, received life sentences.

    The victims, who were discovered in various rooms of the blood-stained house, were Erin Belanger, Roberto Gonzalez, Michelle Nathan, Anthony Vega, Jonathon Gleason and Francisco Ayo-Roman.

    The Supreme Court in 2009 upheld Victorino's convictions and death sentences in what is known as a "direct" appeal.

    But Thursday's ruling dealt with a subsequent appeal involving issues such as Victorino's legal representation.

    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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