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‘Cash Feenz’ receives 40 years for guilty plea

By Staff | Aug 20, 2009

Alleged “Cash Feenz” defendant Paul Nunes changed his plea Wednesday to guilty in the 2006 Cape Coral double murder of Jeffrey and Alexis Sosa, less than a week before co-defendant Kemar Johnston is scheduled to begin trial in Lee County.
The 21-year-old, on reduced charges of two counts each of second-degree murder, kidnapping and aggravated battery and one count of arson, will be sentenced to 40 years in prison pending his truthful testimony in the upcoming trials of co-defendants Johnston and Kenneth Lopez.
If gone to trial and found guilty, Nunes faced death.
“Obviously it’s difficult to have that call made, but it’s the decision that’s in his best interest and he’s going to do the best he can now,” said Nunes’ attorney, David Peckins of Miami. “We discussed it with him and he felt it was in his best interest to avoid going to trial and possibly getting the death penalty.”
Both Nunes’ mother and a younger female family member shared long, tearful hugs with Nunes following his guilty plea.
Family members declined to comment on Nunes’ decision Wednesday.
“He’s been in custody three years and I don’t think he’s had a chance to hug his mom in that time,” Peckins said. “It meant a lot to him.”
Peckins said Nunes is prepared to testify truthfully about the night the Sosas were killed in upcoming trials, as per a plea agreement with the state forged days earlier.
“Your right to a trial and your right to an appeal ends here today,” presiding Lee Circuit Judge Thomas Reese told Nunes during Wednesday morning’s hearing. “But with 40 years, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Reese insisted several times that Nunes be sure he wished to plead guilty. If Nunes does not comply with the state on the terms of the agreement, he can be sentenced from 50 years up to four consecutive life sentences plus 45 years in prison.
A similar agreement was struck between the state and co-defendant Alexis Fernandez for 26 years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea and his testimony, days before the trial of co-defendant Roderick Washington in May.
Nunes is one of 10 defendants charged in the incident, during which the Sosas were tied and tortured at Johnston’s home, then taken to a north Cape industrial site where they were shot and Alexis was burned in the trunk of a car. He is one of six to plead guilty.
Two others, Ashley Toye and Washington, have gone to trial and been found guilty. Both have been sentenced to serve life in prison.
When asked again how he would plead, Nunes told Reese, “I plead guilty.”
Nunes’ sentencing has been set for Nov. 16.