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Prosecutor asks court to bar release of massacre photos

Associated Press
Published February 24, 2005

DeLAND - Volusia County's state attorney wants a judge to block the release of crime scene photos taken in a Deltona home where six people were beaten to death with baseball bats.

John Tanner argued that making the photos public would cause great anguish to the victims' families, adding that they were the worst images he has ever seen. His request will be heard by a judge next month.

"Some of the bodies were unclothed. All of them were mutilated, some after death," Tanner said Tuesday. Lawmakers changed state law in 2001 to seal autopsy photographs from public view after Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s fatal crash that year in the Daytona 500. The law does not cover crime scene photos.

Barbara Peterson, director of the First Amendment Foundation, saw no legitimate reason to withhold the Deltona photos. "I feel for the families," Peterson said. "But these photos have a legitimate public purpose. If they are not released, and the media cannot view them, how do we know if the police agencies did their jobs correctly?"

Troy Victorino, 28, and three other men are charged with six counts of first-degree murder in the Deltona case. The state is seeking the death penalty.

Authorities say they barged into the Deltona house and used bats to kill the people inside and a dog because one of the victims had Victorino's Xbox video game system, which he had left in a house where he was squatting.

[Last modified February 24, 2005, 00:54:17]

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