- The Washington Times - Monday, August 9, 2004

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — An ex-convict who blamed a young woman for taking his video-game system and clothes recruited three teenagers to stab and beat her and five others to death, investigators said yesterday.

The 22-year-old woman was singled out for an attack so vicious that even dental records proved useless in attempts to identify her. Some of the victims were attacked in their sleep, authorities said.

The bodies were found Friday in a blood-spattered home.

All four suspects have been charged with first-degree murder and armed burglary, the Volusia County sheriff’s department said.

Suspected ringleader Troy Victorino, 27, of Deltona, was “very guarded” during questioning, Sheriff Ben Johnson said. Three 18-year-olds also were arrested Saturday: Robert Cannon of Orange City and Jerone Hunter and Michael Salas, both of Deltona.

The four were jailed in Daytona Beach while awaiting bail hearings on Monday. Sheriff Johnson wants prosecutors to seek the death penalty. “These families will never get over this,” he said.

The attack was the culmination of events revolving around a nearby vacant home owned by grandparents of one of the victims and used by squatters as a party house. The four men and two women who were slain had reported being harassed by the suspects.

Investigators struggling to find a motive for the slayings suspect that the victims were killed over the theft of some clothes and an XBox game system owned by Victorino, the sheriff’s office said.

The suspects were armed with aluminum bats when Victorino kicked in the locked front door, according to arrest records. The group wore black clothes and scarves on their faces, grabbed knives inside and attacked victims in different rooms of the three-bedroom house, authorities said.

Victorino, who is 6 feet 5 inches tall, has spent eight of the past 11 years in prison and was arrested for a probation violation eight days before the killings.

The four suspects appeared before a judge on Saturday without attorneys. They will have a chance to ask for court-appointed lawyers today.

The sheriff’s office has identified five of the victims as Michelle Ann Nathan, 19; Anthony Vega, 34; Roberto “Tito” Gonzalez, 28; Francisco Ayo Roman, 30; and Jonathan Gleason, 18. The sixth victim was thought to be Erin Belanger, 22, whose grandparents own the vacant home.

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