The judge called them a group of people living a Scarface movie fantasy, seeing themselves as young drug lords ruling a world of escalating violence that led to the brutal murders of 3- and 4-year-old brothers and their parents.
Imposing a sentence recommended by a federal jury, U.S. Senior District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley on Wednesday told Daniel Troya and Ricardo Sanchez Jr. their sentence for the boys' killings reflected the consequences of their involvement in the drug trade.
He sentenced both to die.
The sentences make Sanchez and Troya, 25 and 26, the first people to receive a federal death sentence in Florida since lawmakers reenacted the penalty in 1988.
One fascinating aspect of the case is that Troya and Sanchez had been willing before the trial to settle the cases in exchange for life sentences. The attorneys said prosecutors on the local level accepted the agreement, but the Attorney General's Office in Washington rejected it and asked for the death penalty.
So, in spite of the additional cost and all the other problems inherent in a capital punishment proceeding, the Attorney General's Office in Washington insists. Why do you think that is?
What's your opinion? Are Troya and Sanchez good candidates for the death penalty? Is their crime one that cries out for the ultimate punishment?
What about the family that was killed? Didn't they, or at least the parents, make the decision to work in the drug business? Didn't they choose to commit numerous crimes? Wouldn't that make them responsible for their own deaths just like the other criminals we've discussed who ended up dead because they were committing crimes? Or do you think there's a difference when the executioner is also a criminal?
There's entirely too much killing going on, can we all agree upon that? Do you think the availability of guns and the prevalence of violence in society, as glamorized in movies like Scarface, are two factors that feed on each other? I know it's not the guns, per se, but wouldn't it be wise if we found a way to keep the gun availability down as we sought to heal our society from violence through education and rehabilitation? What do you think about that?
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