Jury recommends death for Leon Davis Junior

1:40 PM, Feb 18, 2011   |    comments
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BARTOW, Florida -- It took only about 30 minutes for the same jury that convicted Leon Davis, Jr. to recommend that he die for the murders of 26-year-old Yvonne Bustamante, 23-year-old Juanita Luciano, and Luciano's prematurely delivered son. The women were robbed and burned to death at a Lake Wales insurance office in December 2007.

"We recommend that court impose the death penalty on Leon Davis, Jr.," the court clerk read three times.

After three years of heartache and two mistrials, family members say justice has finally been done.

Ebilia Rodriguez, Bustamante's mother, said the jury "did a good job getting him what he deserved. And now we'll head back to Texas and my heart is going to stay here with my daughter," she said breaking into tears.

Rodriguez urged parents to tell their children "I love you" as often as possible "Because you never know when it's going to be the last time" you speak with them, she said.

Davis' family was ushered out the back door of the courtroom, making no comment. His lawyer, however, made several statements about grounds for appeal.

Bob Norgard said he had concerns about an all-white jury, and concerns some of those jurors may have know about another murder case in which Davis was the alleged gunman at a Lake Alfred BP gas station. Norgard even offered a $10,000 reward for the mysterious handgun, a Dan Wesson .357 revolver, serial #278556 that Davis claims he sold to a stranger before the murders at the insurance office.

"Would I be that stupid as a defense lawyer to ask for a piece of evidence that would incriminate my client?" said Norgard. "I'm that confident and Leon Davis is that confident that that gun will not match those bullets."

Because it's a death penalty case, an appeal is automatic under the law. The next status hearing in the case is set for February 28th.

Judge Michael Hunter still has to make the final decision of whether to accept the jury's recommendation to put Davis to death.

Davis showed little emotion as the jury's recommendations were announced. Courtwatcher's say it will likely take up to six weeks before Judge Hunter announces whether to accept the jury's recommendation and sentence Davis to death.

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Eric Glasser, 10 News

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