Three men accused of viciously beating six people to death in a revenge slaying over an X-box video game system have been convicted of first-degree murder.
The jury deliberated for about six hours over two days before returning its verdict against ringleader Troy Victorino, 29, Michael Salas and Jerone Hunter, both 20.
Prosecutors said Victorino organized the baseball bat attacks in 2004 because he was angry with one of the victims who had him evicted when she found him living in her grandmother's home. She kept some of his belongings, including clothing and the video game system.
The six victims -- Erin Belanger; Francisco Ayo-Roman; Michelle Nathan; Anthony Vega; Roberto Gonzalez; and Jonathan Gleason -- were friends who were at a Deltona house. Their bodies were cut and mutilated.
In addition to murder, all three defendants were also found guilty of conspiracy and other charges, but were acquitted of some of the 14 counts against them.
Salas was the only defendant that showed any emotion as the verdicts were read, dropping his head into his hands as the jury found him guilty.
Relatives and friends of the victims openly expressed their emotions as each guilty count was read.
"We don't know what the sentence is going to be yet, but hopefully they die for this. They deserve it. They're monsters," said a victim's friend Allyson Prevo.
The defense for Victorino thought jurors might have come back with a different verdict. Now, they're preparing for the penalty phase and an appeal.
"We believed the jury worked hard. We're going to appeal immediately, and Troy still maintains his innocence," said Victorino's attorney Michael Nielson.
Prosecutor John Tanner said he's ready to put the trial behind him, and that he's happy to get three killers off the street.
"It's a milestone for our community, one we wish we didn't have. Justice has been done, and that's our job," Tanner said.
Jurors will return Thursday to begin the penalty phase. The prosecution has said it will seek the death penalty for all three defendants.
The sentencing phase of the trial is expected to last two to three days.
Victorino's attorney said the penalty phase is the toughest part of his job because he realizes that he has Victorino's life in his hands.
The case was moved from DeLand to St. Augustine after Parsons determined he could not select an impartial jury because of intense news coverage.
A fourth defendant, Robert Cannon, 20, pleaded guilty in October to his role in the killings, but he refused to testify at his co-defendants' trial, saying he was not guilty and wanted to withdraw his plea. Chief Circuit Judge Bill Parsons has not decided whether he will allow the change.
- July 24, 2006: Deliberations Begin In Xbox Murder Trial
- July 20, 2006: Defendants Deny Killing Anyone In Video Game Slayings
- July 19, 2006: 'Ringleader' Of Xbox Murders Takes Stand In His Defense
- July 18, 2006: State: Victims' Blood On Defendant's Bat, Boots
- July 17, 2006: Investigator: 2 Defendants Admit Beating 6 People Who Were Killed
- July 14, 2006: Judge Denies Mistrial In Xbox Slaying Case
- July 13, 2006: Star Witness In Alleged Xbox Slayings 'Can Say No More'
- July 12, 2006: Prosecutor Details 6 Grisly Slayings In 'Xbox Murder Trial'
- July 5, 2006: St. Johns Jurors Being Chosen To Hear Xbox Murder Trial
- April 10, 2006: Judge Rules Suspect In Deltona Slayings Competent To Stand Trial
- March 2, 2006: Judge Says Deltona Slayings Trial Will Remain In Volusia County
- March 24, 2005: Judge Seals Crime Scene, Autopsy Photos From Deltona Massacre
- February 21, 2005: Accused Ringleader In Deltona Slayings Says He Was Passed Out
- January 7, 2005: Witness In Deltona Slayings Says He Wants to Testify At Trial
- September 29, 2004: Deltona House Where 6 Were Killed Is Up For Sale
- September 14, 2004: Last Of 4 Accused In Deltona Slayings Pleads Not Guilty
- August 9, 2004: Men Accused In Brutal Slayings Denied Bond
- August 7, 2004: Six People Found Dead In Deltona Home