WEST PALM BEACH — Two men were sentenced to death Wednesday for the drug-debt slaying of a family of four on the side of a Florida highway, including two young boys who died in their mother's arms.
Daniel Troya, 26, and co-defendant Ricardo Sanchez Jr., 25, both received two death sentences — for the two child victims — and five life terms each at separate hearings. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley gave each man additional years in prison on lesser counts.
The sentencings marked the first imposition of a federal death penalty in Florida since the federal government reinstated capital punishment in 1988.
Troya and Sanchez were convicted March 5 of killing Jose Luis Escobedo, 28; his wife, Yessica Guerrero Escobedo, 25; and their sons, Luis Julian, 4, and Luis Damian, 3. Their bodies were found in the grass alongside Florida's Turnpike on Oct. 13, 2006, shot at close range.
Prosecutors say Jose Escobedo was in a drug ring with the defendants. They said Troya and Sanchez killed him and his family to settle a debt, then stole 33 pounds of cocaine from Escobedo.