Sunday, January 20, 2008

Man takes plea deal in 2 killings


CAPE CORAL -- A man admitted his role in kidnapping and fatally beating two teenagers Friday under a plea deal, giving him 14 years in prison in exchange for testifying against his co-defendants.

Cody Roux, who was charged as a principal to the crimes, is among a half-dozen young adults from this Southwest Florida community accused of killing two teenage relatives at a party in 2006.

The state attorney's office previously had said it planned to seek the death penalty against Kenneth Lopez, Melissa Rivera, Paul Nunes, Kemar Johnston, Alexis Fernandez and Roux.

Three others charged in the killings -- Ashley Toye, Roderick Washington and Iriana Santos -- were all younger than 18 at the time of the crime, which excludes them from facing execution.

All nine, who range in age from 16 to 21, were at a birthday party for Johnston at his house when Alexis Sosa, 18, and his nephew Jeffrey Sosa, 14, arrived. The suspects then began to beat, torture, shoot and set on fire the Sosas, allegedly after a derogatory message about Lopez's girlfriend was played for partygoers to hear, according to affidavits.

The Sosas' bodies were found in a burned Lexus the next day in a secluded industrial park.

The medical examiner's office reported that Jeffrey Sosa was shot seven times and his Uncle Alexis was shot four times. Both had the initials "CF" carved into them, which police say stands for "Cash Feenz," a gang and recording group.

Roux's attorney, Jerry Berry, said his client understands he needed to admit to the crimes for the deal to work out.

"It was very difficult for him to do," Berry said.

A grand jury indicted the nine suspects on two counts of capital felony first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping and two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Lopez and Nunes also were indicted on one count of arson, and Rivera, Santos and Toye were indicted on charges of tampering with evidence.

Toye was sentenced to life in prison.

Rivera agreed to 20 years in prison and Santos agreed to 25 years, under plea deals.

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