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The brutal drug-related murder of a mother and her three children began unfolding in a courtroom in the state Capitol on Thursday.
In Tallahassee just days before Thanksgiving 2010, a 27-year-old mother, her twin 6-year-old daughters, and a 3-year-old son were brutally murdered. The children’s bodies found stacked in a bathtub.
Presiding Judge James Hankinson described the case as "a very complicated case, very complicated facts.”
Now the father of the 3-year-old, Henry Segura, is on trial for their murders. Prosecutor Jon Fuchs said back child support was the motive.
“He was actually behind on the child support by a pretty large amount of money.”
In fact, $20,000, but the case gets dicey.
In a pretrial hearing, gang member John Carlos Santos said he ordered the hit from jail because the mother, Brandi Peters, was skimming profits from a Mexican cartel.
When asked if he personally asked other people to kill her on his behalf, he answered, "Yes sir."
No DNA from the father was found in the Saddle Creek Run home, but what was found was DNA from a known drug dealer and four sets of bloody foot prints.
Defense attorney Nathan Prince asked jurors to think about the crime.
“Ask yourselves whether slaughtering those three children could possibly have anything to do with child support.”
The defense also said police dropped the ball by not following up on evidence found in the bathroom at the nearby park. The evidence included torn bloody clothes and price tags from new clothing the killer may have changed into.
As he ended his opening statement to the jury, the defense promised to deliver the real killer.
“I will show you who he is before the end of this trial.”
Prosecutors must convince all 12 jurors of guilt; however, the defense has to convince just one that there is reasonable doubt.
The state is seeking the death penalty in the case, which is expected to last at least another two weeks.