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Leon Davis sentenced to death in Polk slayings

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Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 03:05 PM
BARTOW -

The man who doused two women with gasoline and set them on fire was sentenced to death today.

Polk County Circuit Judge Michael Hunter followed the jury's recommendation in sentencing Leon Davis Jr., 33.

Davis robbed a Headley Insurance office in Lake Wales on Dec. 13, 2007, pouring gasoline over employees Yvonne Bustamante, 26, and Juanita Luciano, 23, and setting them on fire. Luciano was pregnant; her son died three days after being delivered prematurely.

Bustamante and Luciano were sisters-in-law.

Jurors convicted Davis in February of three counts of first-degree murder.

Hunter sentenced Davis to death for the murders of Bustamante and Luciano and gave him life in prison in the slaying of Luciano's son. Davis also was sentenced to life terms for attempted murder and armed robbery, as well as 30 years for arson.

Davis remained stoic as sentence was imposed.

Hunter described Davis' actions as "especially heinous and cruel."

"In this case both Yvonne Bustamante and Juanita Luciano suffered real and excruciating pain and mental anguish, and at least Yvonne Bustamante had an acute awareness of her impending death," Hunter said.

At trial, witnesses said they saw Davis leaving the burning insurance agency. His brother testified that Davis showed up at his home with a scratch on his face and said he had "just robbed somebody."

Defense attorney Bob Norgard said the witnesses were mistaken about seeing Davis coming out of the insurance office.

Davis testified he got into a fight with a gang member he knew only as "Jack Boy" in the parking lot of a Winter Haven recreation center that afternoon.

The victims' families expressed relief after hearing the sentence.

"I know some people say it's bad 'cause you wish somebody to die," said Bustamante's aunt Alicia Littleton. "But to me he deserved that and more."

Another relative, Julia Hernandez, agreed.

"They were somebody's mother, sister, daughter," she said. "He didn't have to kill them."

jpoltilove@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7691

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