Death Penalty still in play in Luis Toledo case

A Volusia County man, accused of killing his wife and her two children, was in court on Friday to determine whether the death penalty may apply to the case. 

Luis Toledo appeared in an orange prison garb; his wrists were handcuffed and chained to his waist.  He let his attorney do all of the talking, and they had one mission.

“We want to argue to save our client’s life," Toledo's attorney told the judge.

Toledo is accused of killing Yessenia Suarez and her two children, 8-year-old Michael Otto and 9-year-old Thalia Otto.  All three vanished in 2013 and their bodies have never been found. 

Jeff Deen, another of Toledo's attorneys said, “I believe that my client should not face the death penalty.”

They argued that Florida’s law is too broad, and death is determined on a whim by the prosecution.

Deen said, “The way this reads now, every single murder qualifies for the death penalty. It’s too arbitrary. It’s not constitutional in the structure it has now.”

But the judge denied two death-penalty motions keeping the death penalty in play.  The defense said the fight in this case is just beginning.

“I told him, we need to file more motions. He wants to keep the trial date, we’re fine with that.”

The judge said the court will pick 14 to 18 people to serve on the jury. They’ll be chosen from a group of 150 people. Jury selection starts October 2.