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Polk man convicted of fiery triple murder

BARTOW — After deliberating less than four hours, a jury convicted Leon Davis Jr. on Tuesday of a triple murder in Lake Wales

Davis, 33, was convicted of robbing the Headley Nationwide Insurance office and killing Yvonne Bustamante, 27, and her pregnant sister-in-law, Juanita "Jane" Luciano, 23, in December 2007. He bound them with duct tape, forced them into a restroom, doused them with gasoline and set them on fire.

Both women later died, as did Luciano's baby.

The jury of seven women and five men found Davis guilty of three counts of first-degree murder, and a count each of attempted first-degree murder, armed robbery and arson.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

More than 75 witnesses testified during the four-week trial, and lawyers brought in hundreds of pieces of evidence.

But Bartow defense lawyer Robert Norgard said his client has no interest in presenting testimony favoring a life sentence, which is the only alternative in a first-degree murder case.

Norgard talked with Davis about that after the verdict was announced, but to no avail.

A death penalty hearing is scheduled for Thursday, when the same jury will hear evidence from prosecutors that supports the death penalty. Prosecutors list nine statutory reasons for imposing the death penalty that they believe are supported by the evidence in this case.

Defense lawyers may offer unlimited testimony for life imprisonment.

Bustamante, who identified Davis as the attacker, died five days after the attack. Luciano lived nearly three weeks before succumbing to her burns. Michael Bustamante Jr. died Dec. 16, three days after he was delivered prematurely the night of the attack.

Polk man convicted of fiery triple murder 02/15/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 9:28pm]
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