Pair headed to death row for killing of family - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Pair headed to death row for killing of family

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By Chuck Weber email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX)-It's official. Two West Palm Beach men are headed to death row for murdering an entire family along the Turnpike.

As required under federal law, Judge Daniel Hurley followed a jury's recommendation Wednesday, giving death sentences to Daniel Troya and Ricardo Sanchez for the execution-style murders of the Escobedo family in 2006.

"This case is about the greed and violence that accompanies the drug trade," said Judge Hurley, pronouncing the sentences. He called Troya, Sanchez and the other two defendants, "a group of young people living a 'Scarface' fantasy."

The bodies of Jose Luis Escobedo, his wife Jessica, and the couple's four- and three-year old sons, Luis Julian and Luis Damian, were found along the Turnpike in St. Lucie County. Prosecutors said the motive was settling a drug debt and stealing the cocaine the Escobedo's had with them.

During hearings at the federal courthouse in downtown West Palm Beach, both Troya and Sanchez addressed the judge. They apologized. But Sanchez insisted he was innocent. And Troya questioned at length the ultra-secure nature of his confinement.

"He's there because of the choices that he made," said Rosario Escobedo, mother of victim Jose Luis Escobedo, exasperated at Troya's questions in court. "Now he has to face the consequences."

The death sentences? "We're happy," said Escobedo. "Justice has been done."

Speaking in Spanish, Sara Guerrero, mother of Jessica Escobedo, said, "I'll never recover from such a huge loss, but I feel a little better."

Lorenzo Troya, father of Daniel Troya, said he was sorry for those who lost their lives, especially the children, and their families. But Mr. Troya added, "We still believe there's a lot of reasonable doubt. We're going to pursue that."

Both Troya and Sanchez will appeal.

Two others convicted on related drug and weapons charges, Liana Lopez and Danny Varela, face potential life sentences at their sentencing hearings on Friday.

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