CBS News: Florida jury still deciding trial for murder of Brownsville family
Tue, 03 Mar 2009 17:56:07 GMT —
A jury began deliberations Monday in the trial of two men accused of gunning down a family of four on Florida's Turnpike.
Daniel Troya and Ricardo Sanchez, both 25, are charged with armed carjacking resulting in deaths, conspiracy, weapons counts and drug offenses.
Jose Luis Escobedo, 28, his wife, Yessica, 25, and their two sons -- ages 3 and 4 -- were found dead on the side of the turnpike near Port St. Lucie on Oct. 13, 2006.
Authorities said Troya and Sanchez were settling a drug dispute with Escobedo when they killed the family.
During closing arguments last week, prosecutors showed jurors a picture of the Escobedo family and then overlaid it with pictures of their bodies -- Yessica's arms flung protectively over her two children.
Courtroom observers said it was a powerful blow against the defendants.
Other observers, though, said that the amount of evidence the prosecution has presented could confuse jurors.
According to an indictment, Troya and Sanchez had been speaking to Jose Luis Escobedo via cell phone while the Escobedo family was traveling on the turnpike toward their Greenacres home.
The indictment said that Troya and Sanchez, driving in a maroon van, got on the turnpike at Fort Pierce and intercepted Escobedo.
They allegedly forced him to pull over and forced the family out of the vehicle at gunpoint before fatally shooting them.
Jose Luis Escobedo, his wife, Yessica, and their two sons -- ages 3 and 4 -- were found shot to death on the side of the turnpike Oct. 13, 2006.
Investigators said that Sanchez left the scene in the family's Jeep with Troya following him in the van.
Authorities said the men took the turnpike south and got off at Okeechobee Boulevard, dumping the Escobedo's vehicle a short while later in West Palm Beach.
Troya and Sanchez could receive the death penalty if convicted.
Two others -- Danny Varela, 28, and Liana Lopez, 20 -- are also on trial in the same case on drug conspiracy and weapons charges. They could be sentenced to life in prison.
All have pleaded not guilty.