Jury: Leon Davis Jr. guilty of three counts of murder

7:22 AM, Feb 16, 2011   |    comments
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BARTOW, Florida -- The decision of whether Leon Davis, Jr.  lives or dies now rests with the same jury that convicted him. They'll meet again Thursday to begin the punishment phase.

It took jurors less than four hours to find  Davis guilty on three counts of first degree murder, and one count each of attempted murder, armed robbery, and arson.

The 34-year-old stood motionless as the verdicts were read. Family members of the victims strained to contain their elation and relief.

"He's gonna pay for what he did to them," said the victims' Aunt Alicia Littleton, "They didn't deserve to die that way. I'm just so thankful and happy and excited, because it's over."

Outside the courtroom, the wave of pent-up emotions came pouring out, as family members hugged, embraced and cried together.

Ebilia Rodrigez, Yvonne Bustamante's mother, told reporters that Davis "took part of me when she died. Part of me died too. And I want him to know that he destroyed my family. And he did a real cruel thing. They didn't deserve to die like this."

Davis was convicted of robbing, binding and setting fire to 26-year-old Yvonne Bustamante and 23-year-old Juanita Luciano. The two women were working at a Lake Wales insurance office in December 2007.

Luciano's prematurely delivered son also died.

It took three years and two mistrials to finally reach this day. The conclusion of a painful ordeal the victim's relatives were clearly relieved had finally been put to rest.

"I'm glad that he's guilty and that if they give him the death penalty, that's even better, because that's what he deserves," said Rodriguez, who confessed that she herself does not support the death penalty.

"He didn't give them the life and he didn't have a right to take it away," she said.

The decision of whether Davis lives or dies now rests with the same jury that convicted him. They'll meet again on Thursday morning to begin the punishment phase.

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Eric Glasser, 10 News

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