ST. AUGUSTINE | A jury of 11 women and four men, including three alternates, was seated Tuesday, seven days after selection began in the high-profile Deltona triple murder trial moved to St. Augustine because of the publicity. Here’s what you need to know.
WHAT HAPPENED: Luis Toledo confronted his wife and slapped her at her workplace on Oct. 22, 2013, in Lake Mary after learning she was having an affair with one of her coworkers, reports said. Toledo is accused of killing his wife and her children the following morning in Deltona and disposing of their bodies. The bodies have not been found.
THE CHARGES: Luis Toledo is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of his wife and two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of her children. If convicted of killing either of the children, Toledo could face the death penalty. Toledo is also accused of tampering with evidence which includes allegations he disposed of the bodies.
THE SUSPECT: Luis Toledo is a 35-year-old former high-ranking member of the Latin Kings gang. Toledo got his nickname “Semi” from his martial arts and boxing. Toledo was studying to be a barber at some point before his arrest.
THE VICTIMS: 28-year-old Yessenia Suarez, and her children, Thalia Otto, 9, and Michael Otto, 8. The mother and children were reported missing Oct. 23, 2013, from their home at 317 Covent Gardens Place in Deltona by their maternal grandmother.
COURT ACTION: Circuit Judge Raul Zambrano ruled on Tuesday that prosecutors could use statements from Toledo that when he was driving home on the morning of Oct. 23, 2013, he saw police outside his house and threw a knife out the window of his car. Zambrano said that prosecutors at least for now could not show jurors a picture of the actual knife, which is more than 11 inches in length, appears to have brass knuckles on the handle and a serrated edge. The defense had objected saying there is no evidence linking the knife to any murder.
EXPECTED AT TRIAL: Attorneys will make opening statements on Wednesday morning at the Richard O. Watson Judicial Center.