Stolen Xbox blamed as motive for mass murder
By Ashlee Vance in Chicago
The console wars took a horrible turn last week after a missing Xbox was blamed as the motive for a mass murder in Florida.
Four men were charged with first-degree murder after police in Deltona, Florida found the bodies of six people - two women and four men - who were apparently beaten to death with baseball bats. Attempting to explain the slaying, police have offered up no better cause than describing the murders as payback for missing clothes and an Xbox. One man allegedly recruited three others to exact revenge on those believed to be responsible for his stolen items.
Troy Victorino, 27, Robert Cannon, 18, Jerone Hunter, 18, and Michael Salas, 18, were charged.
"After questioning all four defendants, officials struggling to come up with a motive for the crime believe the killings were committed over the theft of some clothes and an Xbox game system owned by Victorino," the Volusia County Sheriff's office said in a statement. "Given the nature of the crime, investigators immediately zeroed in on the likelihood that the suspect or suspects knew their victims. Their hunch led them to Victorino, who recently had become embroiled in a squabble with one of the victims because he blamed her for the theft of his property."
"Victorino?s clothes and game system apparently were stolen while he was temporarily staying at a home on Providence Boulevard."
Some of the victims worked at a local Burger King restaurant. Co-workers at the Burger King called police on Friday morning after one of the victims failed to show up for work. One of the employees went to check on the missing worker and discovered the gruesome murder scene. The restaurant has temporarily been closed.
Sheriff Ben Johnson has called for the death penalty for the four alleged murderers.
The sheriff's office identified the victims as Michelle Ann Nathan, 19; Anthony Vega, 34; Roberto "Tito" Gonzalez, 28, of New York; Francisco Ayo Roman, 30; and Jonathan Gleason, 18. The sixth victim has yet to be identified with authorities saying her face was unrecognizable after the beating. ®
Xbox slayings take even more horrific turn
By Ashlee Vance in Chicago
The gruesome Florida Xbox killings became even more revolting this week as gory details emerged around the methods used by the murders on their six victims.
In a 15-count indictment, prosecutors stated that the victims had their throats slashed and were stabbed even after they had already died. In addition, one woman was sexually violated with one of the baseball bats used to beat all of the victims to death. A grand jury this week indicted the four men suspected of committing the murders, and State Attorney John Tanner vowed to seek the death penalty for all four individuals.
The story surrounding the murders is as strange as it is disgusting. Florida officials have stated that they believe Troy Victorino, 27, recruited three other men to help commit the killings. Victorino had left his Xbox and some clothes at a squatters house and later found out that someone in the house had taken his kit. He is then accused of hunting down the woman he suspected of taking the Xbox and killing her and five other people in their sleep.
Four officials were fired earlier this month for not arresting Victorino on a probation violation. He had punched a man in June and could have been brought in weeks before the murders occurred, but the probation officials did not file the necessary paperwork until the day after the murders.
Victorino was on probation for beating a man almost to death in 1996.
Three of the men suspected in the murders have confessed to the crimes, according to a local Florida paper, with Victorino holding out. The men are also suspected of kicking the house dog to death. ®