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Jury likely to get case today in triple murder trial in Polk County

BARTOW — Assistant State Attorney John Aguero swept his arm over a list of 43 elements of the state's case against triple murder defendant Leon Davis Jr. Monday morning, telling jurors each of them would have to be purely coincidence if Davis is innocent.

"It's not possible for these things to be a coincidence," he said in his closing argument. "How can all these things happen to poor Mr. Davis, all at the same time."

Aguero reminded jurors that Yvonne Bustamante, who was set on fire while working at a Lake Wales insurance office, identified Davis, whom she knew, as her assailant in the moments following the December 2007 attack.

He listed the witnesses who identified Davis to police in photo lineups after the attack.

Aguero attacked the story Davis told from the witness stand. Davis said he had gone to a Winter Haven recreation center, where he got into a fight with a motorist who had tailed him.

Davis thought he had eliminated any evidence of his crime, Aguero said, because he didn't think the women would live long enough to identify him and the fire at the Headley Nationwide Insurance office would eliminate any evidence "He doesn't know that Yvonne Bustamante lived long enough to say Mr. Davis did this to her."

Davis, 33, faces three counts of first-degree murder for killing Bustamante, 27, her pregnant sister-in-law, Juanita "Jane" Luciano, 23, and Luciano's newborn son. Authorities allege he robbed the women, then bound them with duct tape, forced them into a restroom, doused them with gasoline and set them on fire.

The women told authorities at the scene that he continued to splash gasoline on them as they ran from the building with their clothing on fire.

If Davis is convicted, prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against him.

The jury of five men and seven women is expected to begin deliberations today.

Jury likely to get case today in triple murder trial in Polk County 02/14/11 [Last modified: Monday, February 14, 2011 11:33pm]
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