Lawyers ask judge to spare life of ringleader of Xbox slayings


Published: Friday, September 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 31, 2006 at 11:35 p.m.
DAYTONA BEACH - Attorneys for the convicted ringleader in the beating deaths of six people over an Xbox video game system asked a judge Thursday to spare him the death penalty because he has mental problems and was abused as a child.
However, Troy Victorino, 29, did not take the stand on his own behalf, saying only "No, sir" when Chief Circuit Judge Bill Parsons asked if there was anything he wanted to tell the court.
His attorneys also presented no witnesses, saying they had already brought forth at trial all available testimony speaking to his character.
A jury last month convicted Victorino and two other men of first-degree murder for the 2004 slaughter of six people in the same Deltona house. Victorino, a 6-foot-7, 270-pound previously convicted felon, allegedly organized the attacks with three younger men to retrieve an Xbox video game system and other belongings from a house he was kicked out of squatting in.
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.
Victorino was abused as a child and hospitalized for mental illness as early as age 9, defense attorney Jeff Dowdy said. He and exhibited strange indicators on brain tests that could mean mental illness or damage to his frontal lobe, Dowdy said.
"He took the worst of the beatings because he was the oldest," Dowdy said. "He can come up with this harebrained plan, but Victorino does not have the ability to put the brakes on it, he doesn't have the ability to stop."
Prosecutor Leah Case said the defense's psychological experts never pinpointed a specific mental illness or disorder, and Victorino's efforts to create an alibi the night of the killings showed he was thinking clearly.
"That's forethought, and that's logical thinking," she said. "It may not be something we all want to have as far as the goal, but there was goal-directed behavior."
The jury recommended death for Victorino and Jerone Hunter, but Parsons will make the final decision. He scheduled sentencing for both Sept. 21.
Michael Salas and Robert Anthony Cannon, both 20, were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Cannon had pleaded guilty and agreed to testify for the prosecution, but declared his innocence at trial and refused to answer questions. Parsons denied on Monday his motion to pull the plea and handed down the life sentence.
The six victims were left in the house bloodied and bruised, all dead from blows to the head causing severe skull fractures and brain injury, the medical examiner determined. He said the injuries were similar to those inflicted in high-speed car wrecks.
Several of the bodies were also mutilated with stab wounds and cuts after death, and some victims were missing most of their teeth.
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 Burger King in Deltona.

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