Friday, May 18, 2007

Accused turnpike killer seeks new attorney

By staff report
May 18, 2007

The attorney for one of two men accused of killing a family of four on Florida's Turnpike is asking for another attorney to be appointed who can handle a death penalty case.

Fort Lauderdale attorney Ruben Garcia, who currently is assigned to the case of Daniel Troya, is not certified to handle capital cases, and federal law requires two attorneys, one of whom must be "learned in the law" regarding death cases, according to the motion. A judge has not ruled on the motion.

Troya, 24, and Ricardo Sanchez, 23, were indicted in April in the deaths of the Escobedo family — a mother, father and two children — who were slain Oct. 13, 2006, in Port St. Lucie. Two of the charges against them, armed carjacking resulting in death and using a firearm in a crime of violence, are capital crimes.

The U.S. Attorney's Office is preparing a memo to send to the Attorney General's Office, which must give final approval for prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said Sanchez and Troya "killed their leader" when they fired more than 20 rounds into the Escobedo family. Jose Escobedo and his brother, a fugitive in Mexico, ran one of the biggest cocaine rings in the "eastern United States," and the family was killed because of drugs, money or both, Mascara said.

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