Jury: Man should die for killing four

It' s the worst mass killing in Polk County history.

Published October 25, 2006

BARTOW - A jury recommended the death penalty Tuesday for an Ecuadorean businessman convicted in the 1997 slayings of four people.

By a 9-3 majority after less than two hours of deliberating, the jury recommended death for Nelson Ivan Serrano, 68, who was found guilty Oct. 11 of four counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of a former business partner and three bystanders at a Bartow garment conveyor factory. He will be sentenced later.

Frank Dosso, 35; his sister and brother-in-law, Diane Patisso, 28, and George Patisso Jr., 26; and his father's business partner, George Gonsalves, 69; were all shot to death on Dec. 3, 1997, at the factory. It was the worst mass slaying in Polk County history.

"We have been sitting here for 12 weeks. Mr. Serrano had a decision in December 1997 to walk away," said George Patisso Sr., whose son and daughter-in-law, George and Diane Patisso, were killed. "Now he will pay."

During the trial prosecutors told jurors that rage over being ousted as a company employee drove Serrano to mastermind an elaborate plot to kill Gonsalves and leave himself with an alibi almost 500 miles away. Dosso and the Patissos were killed because they got in the way, prosecutors said.

In closing arguments before the jury began deliberating the penalty, Assistant State Attorney Paul Wallace said Serrano's actions were cold, calculated and premeditated and deserving of the ultimate punishment.