CONVICTED — Jerone Hunter at his trial in 2006

The trial of Troy Victorino and Jerone Hunter is inching forwards after a stay granted by the 5th District Court of Appeals was lifted May 11.

The pair are in the process of being sentenced again for the brutal murders of six people in 2004. Their original sentences were overturned after Florida law found that death penalty sentences must have unanimous jury decisions. But, as their trial got underway, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law that only requires eight of 12 jurors to agree on death penalty recommendations. 

The pair have already been found guilty. The question now is whether they will be sentenced to life in prison or to death.

The new law makes Florida have the lowest bar in the United States for death penalty sentencing (only Alabama allows nonunanimous death penalty recommendations outright, with a 10-2 jury).

The appellate court, in a 2-1 decision, ruled that the new 8-4 jury decision law would apply. As of press time, the written opinion of the court had not been published.

The defense attorney’s for Victorino and Hunter have filed motions objecting to the constitutionality of Florida’s law in Volusia County court. Allison Miller, an attorney for Hunter, has also filed a motion in 5th District Court of Appeals for a review of the opinion by all 12 judges of the appellate court.

The jury, which has spent more than 20 days on ice while the stay was in effect, will convene Tuesday, May 16, so that the court can determine whether all the jurors can still serve. 

Without a full jury, the sentencing will become a mistrial. 

“If we lose the jury, it’s a loss for the defense and a win for the state,” Judge Randell Rowe said at a hastily called hearing May 12, pointing out that a new trial, and a new jury, would be under the new law. 

“I will talk to the jury about this… I was going to say debacle, but I’ll be nice and say situation,” Rowe said. 


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