The Commission on Capital Cases updates this information regularly. This information; however, is subject to change and may not reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not be relied upon for statistical or legal purposes.
HUNTER, Jerone (B/M)
Seventh Judicial Circuit, Volusia County Case #04-1380
Venue changed to St. Johns County on 05/12/06
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable William A. Parsons
Attorney, Trial: J. Edwin Mills – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Ryan Thomas Truskoski – Private
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Robert T. Strain – CCRC-M
Date of Offense: 08/05/04
Date of Sentence: 09/21/06
Circumstances of Offense:
On the morning of August 6, 2004, Christopher Carroll arrived at 3106 Telford Lane in Deltona. He was there to pick up several co-workers who lived at that address. Upon entering the home, he found blood and several dead bodies. Carroll then called 911. Deputy Anthony Crane and other law enforcement officers arrived at the scene. They found the bodies of six victims: Erin Belanger, Jonathan Gleason, Francisco Roman, Roberto Gonzalez, Michelle Nathan, and Anthony Vega. They also found a deceased dog with a crushed skull. The dog was eventually identified as Belanger’s dachshund, George. Autopsies indicated that all of the victims died from blunt force trauma to the head, with some of the victims exhibiting post-mortem stab wounds.
Robert Cannon, one of the codefendants, testified that on August 5, 2004, Michael Salas, Troy Victorino, Brandon Graham, and Jerone Hunter met at Victorino’s home. A few weeks prior to the murders, Victorino had been squatting in a house owned by Belanger’s grandmother. Victorino believed that Belanger had taken his Xbox and some of his other belongings from the house. Victorino said he wanted his belongings back. He also said that he wanted to use lead pipes to kill all of the individuals residing in the Telford home. Cannon, Salas, Victorino, Graham, and Hunter agreed to commit the murders at 10:00 that night. Graham asked Cannon to drop him off at a friend’s house. Graham did not rejoin the group later that night and did not participate in the murders.
Crime scene technicians took photographs of shoe impressions inside the house. The technicians also collected a knife handle, knife blade, and four metal bats from inside the house. One of the shoe impressions was consistent with a tennis shoe owned by Hunter. They also recovered a shoelace containing DNA from Hunter and the victim Gonzalez. Crime scene technicians also recovered evidence from Cannon’s vehicle. They found glass fragments that matched a broken lamp from the Telford home. Sunglasses containing Roman’s fingerprints were also recovered from the vehicle.
Detective Lawrence Horzepa, of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, interviewed Hunter on August 7, 2004. Hunter confessed to his involvement in the murders. Hunter said that he hit Gleason and Gonzalez with a baseball bat repeatedly, although he was uncertain as to the exact number of blows.
Horzepa also interviewed Salas. Salas confessed to his involvement in the murders, and said that Hunter killed Nathan by stabbing her in the chest. He also said that he disposed of the murder weapons in a retention pond. The Sheriff’s Office dive team recovered the four baseball bats used in the murders from a pond in Debary, Florida.
Robert Cannon pled guilty to all charges in exchange for a life sentence.
Codefendant Troy Victorino received a death sentence. His direct appeal is currently pending in the Florida Supreme Court.
Codefendant Michael Salas was sentenced to life imprisonment.
08/27/04 Indicted as follows:
Count I: Obstruction of a Criminal Investigation
Count II: First-Degree Murder (Erin Belanger)
Count III: First-Degree Murder (Francisco Roman)
Count IV: First-Degree Murder (Jonathan Gleason)
Count V: First-Degree Murder (Roberto Gonzalez)
Count VI: First-Degree Murder (Michelle Nathan)
Count VII: First-Degree Murder (Anthony Vega)
Count VIII: Abuse of a Dead Human Body
Count IX: Abuse of a Dead Human Body
Count X: Abuse of a Dead Human Body
Count XI: Abuse of a Dead Human Body
Count XII: Abuse of a Dead Human Body
Count XIII: Armed Burglary
Count XIV: Cruelty to Animals
05/12/06 Venue was changed from Volusia County to St. Johns County.
07/25/06 Jury returned guilty verdicts for one count of Obstruction of a Criminal
investigation, six counts of First-Degree Murder, three counts of Abuse
of a Dead Human Body, and one count of Armed Burglary.
08/01/06 Jury recommended life without parole for the murder of Erin Belanger.
Jury recommended life without parole for the murder of Francisco Roman.
Jury recommended death by a vote of 10-2 for the murder of Jonathan Gleason.
Jury recommended death by a vote of 9-3 for the murder of Roberto Gonzalez.
Jury recommended death by a vote of 10-2 for the murder of Michelle Nathan.
Jury recommended death by a vote of 9-3 for the murder of Anthony Vega.
08/28/06 Sentenced as follows:
Count I: Obstruction of a Criminal Investigation – 5 years
Count II: First-Degree Murder – Life
Count III: First-Degree Murder – Life
Count IV: Abuse of a Dead Human Body – 15 years
Count V: Abuse of a Dead Human Body – 15 years
Count VI: Abuse of a Dead Human Body – 15 years
Count VII: Armed Burglary – Life
09/21/06 Sentenced as follows:
Count VIII: First-Degree Murder – Death
Count IX: First-Degree Murder – Death
Count X: First-Degree Murder – Death
Count XI: First-Degree Murder – Death
Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal
10/05/06 Appeal filed
09/25/08 Appeal denied
12/18/08 Mandate issued
United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari
01/21/09 Petition filed
04/20/09 Petition denied
Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion
05/04/10 Motion filed
Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition of Sentence:
There have been no major delays in the case at this time.
On 10/05/06, Hunter filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court, citing the following issues: failure to suppress evidence, jury instructions, weight applied to aggravating and mitigating factors, disproportionate nature of sentence, and the constitutionality of Florida’s lethal injection and death-sentencing scheme. This appeal was denied on 09/25/08. A mandate was issued by the Florida Supreme Court on 12/18/08.
On 01/21/09, Hunter filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. This petition was denied on 04/20/09.
On 05/04/10, Hunter filed a 3.850 Motion with the Circuit Court. This motion is still pending.
Report Date: 10/02/08 KLH
Approved: 10/13/08 KLH
Updated: 01/26/11 CAR