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Lake Wales burn victim named attacker, witnesses say

BARTOW — Four witnesses testified this week that they heard burn victim Yvonne Bustamante identify Leon Davis as the man who set her on fire during an attempted robbery at the Lake Wales insurance office where she worked.

On Friday, a paramedic told the jury in Davis' triple murder trial that he couldn't hear everything Bustamante said, but he did hear the name Davis.

"I clearly heard 'Davis did this.' I didn't hear the first part of what she said," retired paramedic Chip Johnson said Friday. "It just didn't register."

In earlier testimony this week, a police lieutenant, a neighbor and an emergency medical technician testified to having heard Bustamante name Davis as her assailant.

Defense lawyers in the case are arguing that Davis, 34, is the victim of mistaken identity and poor law enforcement practices.

However, in the hearings and motions leading up to the trial, Bartow defense lawyer Robert Norgard has never suggested where Davis was during the Dec. 13, 2007, attack in Lake Wales.

By law, Norgard would have to file a notice of alibi with the court if that's the approach he planned to pursue. That hasn't been done, according to the court file.

Davis is accused of killing Bustamante, 27, and her pregnant sister-in-law, Juanita Luciano, during a botched robbery. Authorities allege when Davis attempted to rob the insurance agency, the two women who worked there had little money to give him, so he bound them with duct tape, forced them into a bathroom, doused them with gasoline and set them on fire.

By the time medical help got to them, most of their clothes had burned and their skin was beginning to slip away, according to trial testimony.

Testimony is expected to resume Monday with Brandon Greisman, a neighbor who was shot in the nose when he attempted to help Bustamante. Authorities have charged Davis with attempted murder for the attack on Greisman.

Davis also is accused of shooting to death two clerks at a convenience store in Lake Alfred a week before the Lake Wales attack. That case is set for trial later this year.

Lake Wales burn victim named attacker, witnesses say 01/21/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 21, 2011 10:56pm]
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