Experts testify Xbox killer was abused

Published July 29, 2006

ST. AUGUSTINE - Convicted killer Troy Victorino was physically and sexually abused as a child, tried to kill himself several times and lacks the ability to control his emotions and anger, two psychiatric experts testified Friday in the sentencing phase of his murder trial.

Victorino's attorneys ended their case by putting his mother, Sharon Victorino, on the stand. She said she loves her oldest son but knows he is responsible for his actions. She blamed herself and the judicial system for his life of crime.

Victorino, 29, and two other men were convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder for the baseball bat slayings of six people in a revenge killing over an Xbox video game system. Defense attorneys are trying to convince the jury that their clients should receive life sentences instead of death by injection.

Charles Golden, a clinical psychologist at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, said his testing of Victorino showed that he "has a lot of anger inside him that he is trying to hide."

Golden said Victorino was sexually abused by a babysitter when he was between the ages of 2 and 4. He said Victorino was physically and verbally abused by his father and was hospitalized at age 9 for several months after he began hearing voices cursing him.

As a child, he was so fearful that he would be murdered during the night that he slept with a baseball bat and chains, Golden said.

Jeffrey Danziger, a clinical psychiatrist in private practice in Maitland, reviewed Victorino's medical history and found "a pattern of sustained abuse" and said Victorino attempted suicide five times. Danziger said Victorino received virtually no treatment for his mental illness.

Under questioning from State Attorney John Tanner, both experts said Victorino knew right from wrong, although both said Victorino told them he was not guilty of the Deltona murders.

As Victorino's attorneys wrapped up their case Friday, Sharon Victorino said she and her husband were strict disciplinarians. She had six children, five boys and a girl.

Three weeks after the family moved from New York to Deltona, 10-year-old Troy was arrested, accused of breaking into a neighborhood home to get lumber to build a fort.

He spent two terms in prison and was released in May 2004, just months before the six slayings.

Attorneys for the two other defendants, Michael Salas and Jerone Hunter, both 20, plan to present their cases Monday.

Prosecutors said the slayings occurred after Victorino got angry that victim Erin Belanger had him evicted from her grandmother's vacant home and kept some of his clothing and the video game system.