Thursday, January 29, 2009

Greenacres family pumped with 28 bullets in turnpike slayings, testimony shows

WEST PALM BEACH — The first full day of testimony began this morning in the federal death penalty trial surrounding the 2006 killing of a family of four on Florida's Turnpike.

Ricardo Sanchez, Jr. and Daniel Troya could receive the death penalty if convicted of the carjacking charges that led to the shooting deaths of Jose Luis and Yessica Escobedo along with their two young sons.

Two others, Danny Varela and Liana Lopez, face possible life sentences if convicted on related drug conspiracy charges.

Prosecutors say Jose Luis Escobedo provided a connection to large quantities of cocaine that fueled a drug ring Varela headed.

Attorneys on both sides presented opening arguments in the trial Tuesday. This morning prosecutors questioned a detective and a Turnpike official while going over Turnpike toll receipts and video of the Escobedo's Jeep Cherokee and another van passing through toll booths on the night of the killings.

Investigators linked Troya and Sanchez to the deaths through finger and palm prints lifted from the toll receipts.

In all, the Escobedo family's killers pumped 28 bullets into their bodies. Yessica Escobedo, 25, received the most wounds, shot 11 times.

Photos of the crime scene showed her arms wrapped protectively around her sons 4-year-old Luis Julian and 3-year-old Luis Damian as if to shield them from the shots. But they were shot six and five times respectively.

Before the lunch break, jurors saw photos and heard testimony from Treasure Coast Medical examiner Roger Mittleman, who described each of Jose Luis Escobedo's five gunshot wounds in detail.

Mittleman agreed with Assistant U.S. Attorney John Kastrenakes that the 28-year-old's wounds were consistent with a scenario where the killer would have shot him once above his left eye at close range, then shot him in the abdomen, genitals and leg after he had dropped to the ground.

Source : Palm Beach Post

No comments: