VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A mistrial was declared in the resentencing of two men found guilty and sentenced to death in the brutal murders of six people and a dog in a Deltona home almost 19 years ago.
Resentencing for Troy Victorino, 46, and Jerone Hunter, 36, was halted last month when an appeals court panel granted the state’s emergency motion after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill eliminating a requirement for unanimous jury recommendations before judges can impose death sentences. When Victorino and Hunter were originally convicted of the murders in 2006, they were sentenced to death, but the ruling was not based on a unanimous jury recommendation.
A new motion filed over the weekend by Victorino and Hunter’s lawyers asked the full appeals court to take up the case. They want to use the old law, which requires unanimous jury recommendation for the death penalty. The new law only requires eight out of 12 jurors to recommend a death sentence.
The judge and attorneys questioned jurors on their availability for resentencing during a hearing on Tuesday after an attorney for Victorino asked to push back the restart for a couple days while they wait for appeals court’s written opinion to be filed.
Jurors were asked about their ability to be available for the next three weeks, and four jurors said a new timeline would clash with their schedule. Two jurors have work issues, another has a surgery scheduled and another has an international trip already paid for.
Ultimately, the judge declared a mistrial due to scheduling issues with a few jurors and said the stay in the resentencing trial caused it.
“My bailiffs have been calling this a massive dumpster fire, which I kind of like,” Judge Randell Rowe said. “We’ve been spending a lot of time trying to save this trial... We’ve spent all this time exploring all possible options and we can’t come up with anything so that we can get this done... We’re just going to call it off and start over another day.”
Rowe added that this has been “a very unusual trial with a screwed-up history.”
Victorino and Hunter will return to prison.
The two men were convicted of killing six people and a dog in what became known as the Xbox murders because Victorino had gone to the home to retrieve an Xbox system he had left behind after he had been caught squatting there.
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