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Four indicted in grisly Florida killings

Four men suspected in the grisly slayings of six people were indicted by a Florida grand jury Monday, and the state prosecutor said he planned to seek the death penalty.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A grand jury Monday indicted four men for the grisly slayings of six people in a Florida home, and the state prosecutor planned to seek the death penalty.

Included in the 15-count indictment were newly released details of the massacre — including that one female victim was sexually assaulted with a bat and that each of the victims was stabbed and cut after they were dead.

The bodies of the victims were found in a blood-spattered home Aug. 6.

The alleged ringleader, Troy Victorino, 27, and Robert Cannon, Michael Salas and Jerone Hunter, all 18, were charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, abuse of a dead body with a weapon and armed burglary. They also were charged with cruelty to animals for killing a dog in the house.

State Attorney John Tanner said he will seek the death penalty for all the defendants and asked for prayers for the victims’ families. “They’ve been through a parent’s worst nightmare,” he said.

No one at the public defender’s office answered calls for comment. Attorneys from the office are defending Victorino, Cannon and Salas. There was no answer at the office of Grady Irvin, an attorney representing Hunter.

Police said the killings were the culmination of an argument between Victorino and one of the victims, Erin Belanger, 22, over an X-Box video game system and clothes owned by Victorino.

Belanger’s grandparents own a Florida winter home that is supposed to be vacant in the summer. Police said Victorino and other squatters used it in July as a party spot. The squatters were kicked out, but left behind the X-box and clothes.

Belanger took the items back to the three-bedroom rental home she shared with friends. Investigators said Victorino organized the attack on the home to retrieve the items.