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  1. #1
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    Jury Recommends Life Sentence for Daniel Duffy in 2009 FL Slaying of John Torres

    A former businessman arranged to have his father-in-law murdered in Sebastian in 2009 in retribution for his cooperating with federal authorities in a multi-million-dollar federal fraud case and for owing him money, a prosecutor told jurors Monday in Indian River County Circuit Court.

    Daniel Duffy, 36, of Viera in Brevard County is standing trial for the first-degree murder of John Torres, 45, and for conspiracy to commit the murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in a case expected to last for two weeks.

    Duffy didn't pull the trigger of the .38-caliber handgun that killed Torres outside the Pelican Island Apartments in Sebastian the night of Nov. 27, 2009, said Assistant State Attorney Daryl Isenhower. Another man, Brian Smith, 32, of Palm Bay, did and is charged in the case, Isenhower said.

    But Duffy "murdered him" by arranging for the shooting, the prosecutor said.

    Duffy is serving a seven-year federal prison sentence for mortgage fraud against the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and several banks including Stuart-based Seacoast National Bank.

    He concealed that he and others were improperly buying and selling properties largely in Brevard and Orange counties, according to federal court records. Among the firms Duffy ran was Sebastian River Holdings, Inc., of Sebastian.

    Duffy's wife, Nicole Torres, also was charged in the federal case.

    As Duffy was facing the charges, "He was upset with (John) Torres being an informant with the feds" and he felt that John Torres owed him tens of thousands of dollars, said Isenhower.

    Before the murder, John Torres gave files to federal investigators, said Torres' former girlfriend, Miranda Artz.

    "He (Duffy) had a growing motivation to kill," Isenhower said.

    Defense attorney Sean Wagner said "Duffy was very, very angry but he didn't kill (Torres)."

    Instead, Wagner said, it was Duffy's wife and Marciano Dort, a 30-year-old Brevard County resident, who arranged to shoot her father to get money from him.

    According to Wagner, Marciano Dort was a drug dealer who supplied Duffy and Nicole Torres. Wagner said Duffy turned to Dort for pain medications he couldn't get from his doctor.

    Wagner also said Dort was secretly having an affair with Duffy's wife.

    When Duffy was arrested, she feared "losing a lavish lifestyle she grew accustomed to" with Duffy: expensive cars and houses, including a house in Aruba in the Caribbean.

    Duffy met his wife in New York when she was a prostitute, Wagner said, and "She was not going back to the streets."

    After Duffy was arrested and lost his income, "Everyone scattered like roaches," Wagner said.

    So, Wagner said, Nicole Torres and Dort conspired to kill John Torres to get $400,000 that Duffy had previously given John Torres to help care for Duffy's children.

    "She just didn't take the money," Wagner said. "She killed him."

    But she wasn't charged with the murder. Dort, Smith and Dort's brother, Lucien Dort, also of Brevard County, were charged.

    Deputies arrested all three soon after the murder as they were driving west from Sebastian toward Interstate 95. Inside the car, investigators found a 38-caliber pistol magazine.

    Now both Smith and Marciano Dort have agreed to testify for the state, according to prosecutors.

    The trial continues this afternoon.

    http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2012/feb/...-arranged-for/

  2. #2
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    Sebastian murder trial continues Monday

    The first-degree murder trial of Daniel Duffy continues Monday with Duffy's defense attorneys beginning to present their side of the case, court officials said.

    Prosecutors with the State Attorney's Office contend that Duffy arranged the fatal shooting of his father-in-law, John Torres, outside a Sebastian apartment in November 2009 because Duffy was angry at Torres for allegedly providing information that led to Duffy's conviction on federal mortgage fraud charges.

    However, defense attorney, Sean Wagner, contends that Duffy's wife, Nicole Torres, arranged the murder to get money to support herself. While on the witness stand Thursday, Nicole Torres said she had nothing to do with the murder.

    According to trial testimony, Duffy had given John Torres $400,000 in cash for safekeeping and some of it was kept in a plastic tube with sealed ends.

    Duffy reportedly had a lavish lifestyle and at his own expense flew a friend on an all-expense-paid trip to the Caribbean. While returning from an overseas trip, Duffy was first arrested by federal investigators.

    After that, according to witnesses, Duffy grew increasingly angry with John Torres, who had been one of his trusted work associates.

    When the defense finishes presenting its case, a 12-member jury will decide whether Duffy is guilty of charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. If Duffy is convicted, prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.

  3. #3
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    State intends to retry Duffy after mistrial declared late Tuesday

    A jury's inability to reach a verdict in the Daniel Duffy murder trial isn't deterring prosecutors from planning to put him back on trial on charges of arranging the murder of his father-in-law, according to the state attorney's office.

    "We will continue to seek justice," Assistant State Chris Taylor said Wednesday.

    On Tuesday, a 12-member jury deliberated for nine hours, from 2:40 p.m. to almost midnight, before saying it was hopelessly deadlocked and couldn't reach a verdict. Then Circuit Judge Robert Pegg declared a mistrial, meaning Duffy could be tried again by another jury.

    Pegg scheduled the case for a court hearing at 9 a.m. March 22.

    "We will pursue the same charges," said Taylor, a lead prosecutor in the case.

    Duffy remains in the Indian River County Jail without bail on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit the murder of John Torres outside his Sebastian apartment in November 2009.

    Prosecutors told jurors Duffys was deeply angry at Torres for his cooperating in a federal investigation that led to Duffy and Duffy's wife, Nicole Torres, being convicted of mortgage fraud.

    Also, according to trial testimony, Duffy was miffed at John Torres for allegedly not returning tens of thousands of dollars in cash some of which was kept in lengths of plastic pipe with sealed ends, according to trial testimony.

    Duffy's attorney, Sean Wagner, said, "We believe Mr. Duffy is innocent and unless the state changes its course then we will retry the case as soon as possible. I am disappointed we didn't get a verdict" after a two-week trial.

    Jurors couldn't be reached for comment.

    The jury appeared to have been at an impasse for hours. Earlier Tuesday evening the jury notified Pegg it was too divided to reach a verdict. At the recommendation of prosecutors, Pegg asked the jurors to continue their deliberations.

    Finally the foreman sent a note saying that after an additional 1 1/2 hours of deliberations the jurors were even more divided. Then Pegg declared a mistrial.

    "Absolutely we hope the state continues to prosecute this case," said Sebastian Police Chief Michelle Morris. "Our officers did a fantastic job (in investigating the case). We felt comfortable with it as did the state (prosecutors)."

    Yet, "When you don't have a confession (by Duffy) you always run a risk with a jury," Morris said. "It is an odd case: a murder-for-hire" in which three other men were involved.

    The others still face murder charges. They were stopped driving away from the shooting scene. One had the victim's blood on his shirt.

    Duffy is accused of working in the background, coaxing others to kill Torres.

    And Duffy's defense attorney told jurors that there could have been other people and motives behind the slaying of Torres.

    The jury had the option of finding Duffy guilty of lesser charges, including manslaughter or second-degree murder.

    It appeared that jurors had a more fundamental question: whether Duffy actually orchestrated the murder, as prosecutors contended.

    Midway through deliberations the jury asked Pegg why prosecutors didn't present testimony by Marciano Dort, one of three people Duffy allegedly got to shoot John Torres.

    Dort, according to trial testimony, was Duffy's drug dealer and Duffy helped Dort when Dort was first jailed on murder charges. Jurors did hear phone conversations between Duffy and Dort that they knew were being recorded when Dort was in the county jail..

    Pegg told jurors the law prevents him telling them why Dort didn't testify. The jury is limited to considering what is presented to them during the trial.

    Taylor said he couldn't comment on why Dort wasn't put on the witness stand.

    The prosecutor did say he was disappointed at the jury's verdict.

    http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2012/feb/...mistrial-late/

  4. #4
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    Daniel Duffy faces death penalty after Vero Beach jury finds him guilty of hiring hit men to kill his father-in-law

    A wealthy, fast-talking con artist faces the death penalty after 12 jurors in Indian River County found him guilty Tuesday of arranging the murder of his father-in-law in Sebastian in 2009.

    Duffy, 36, who owned homes in Brevard and Indian River counties, was found guilty Tuesday of first-degree murder for hiring hit men to kill John Torres, 45, of Sebastian, because he believed Torres owed him money and was cooperating with federal investigators.

    The jury will return to the courtroom on Sept. 9 to determine whether to recommend the death penalty or life in prison.

    http://www.verobeachnewsweekly.com/n...er-vero-beach/
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  5. #5
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    Jury decides against death penalty for convicted killer.

    http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2013/sep/...ife-in-prison/
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