Girl: Feud led to Deltona killings

A teen friend of Troy Victorino's suggests a man who wasn't at the house the night of the slayings enraged the suspect.
Kristen Reed Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted September 14, 2005

The woman investigators have said was the main focus of the attackers in the Deltona massacre might not have been the primary target.

It might have been her boyfriend and another man -- a friend who wasn't at the Telford Lane home the night six people and a dog were beaten to death with aluminum baseball bats but, according to a witness, may have inadvertently set off the chain of events that led to one of the worst mass killings in Central Florida.

In a newly released interview with investigators, a then-16-year-old girl who called herself a close friend of accused ringleader Troy Victorino described a feud between Victorino and a man named Abigael Vazquez that escalated in the week before the Aug. 6, 2004, slayings.

She accused Vazquez, 19, of persuading victim Francisco "Flaco" Ayo Roman to take the video-game systems and clothing Victorino, 28, had left behind in the home where he was squatting, according to the investigative reports. She said as a result, Victorino became enraged at Vazquez and Roman.

"He was so mad," the girl said of Victorino. She said he told her, "They took everything. I have nothing. They left me with empty suitcases and my court papers."

Neither the girl nor her parents could be reached for comment by the Orlando Sentinel.

Her account echoes the statement of another witness who was recruited for the attack but backed out. Brandon Graham, who said he initially agreed to help Victorino carry out the killings because he was afraid for his own life, told investigators that the week before the killings Victorino shot at a carload of people, including Vazquez and Roman. Victorino told Graham that the people in the car had robbed him, a report shows.

Investigators have said that Victorino was so angry about the missing items he recruited three friends to beat the six people staying at the Telford Lane home and that 22-year-old Erin Belanger, Roman's girlfriend, was the main target. Her body was the most badly beaten.

The items -- two Xbox video-game systems, a Game Cube, clothing and personal documents -- were left in Belanger's grandmother's house, where Victorino and others had been staying. When Belanger discovered the squatters, she called deputies, who said she could keep or throw out what was left behind.

"I told her to do whatever she wanted with it," Erin's father, Bill Belanger, said. He said his daughter and some friends went to the house to get rid of some of the stuff. Erin Belanger never told him the names of who went. "She shouldn't be murdered because of it."

The 16-year-old girl told investigators she and Victorino spotted people, including Vazquez, wearing Victorino's clothes.

She also said that Victorino had decided to handle the issue legally. "What I understood was that Troy called the police on them twice and the police didn't do anything," the girl said.

Volusia County sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson said they have no record of the incident being reported.

"I've got to believe if it was reported to us we would have tried to take the appropriate action and at least document the incident," he said. Davidson said deputies did document stolen lawn equipment Victorino reported July 3, 2004.

And other investigative records indicate Victorino had plans to retaliate against the people he thought were responsible for taking his belongings.

Victorino and 19-year-olds Jerone Hunter, Michael Salas and Robert Anthony Cannon are charged with 14 felonies and face the death penalty if convicted in the attack.

The girl's statement included other details that family members of the victims cast doubt on. She said Victorino had an amicable conversation with Belanger about getting his things back and the two went to her grandmother's house the Sunday before she was killed but discovered the items were gone.

Bill Belanger said his daughter did tell Victorino he could get his stuff back, but she was too afraid of him to ever go to the house with him.

Vazquez's mother said Tuesday that she had never heard of the accusation against her son before.

"This is not true," Madeline Rivera said. "I don't know why she's saying bad things about Abigael."

Vazquez told investigators the day his friends' bodies were discovered that he and Victorino had a conflict. "I know that he wanted me," he said. "Troy thinks me and Flaco and Erin went into the house and stole all his clothes and stuff."

Vazquez also said Victorino's friends had been threatening his life, according to his statement. Weeks before the killings, Vazquez and his family also filed a complaint accusing Victorino of beating him up.

Vazquez has since been convicted of felony aggravated battery for hitting a friend over the head with a brick. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Kristen Reed can be reached at kreed@orlandosentinel.com or 386-851-7924.