Judge to decide if Nunes plea deal will be withdrawn
A man charged in connection with a 2006 double murder is waiting on a ruling from a judge to learn if an earlier plea deal with the state will be withdrawn.
Paul Nunes pleaded guilty in August for a reduced sentence of 40 years in the murders of Alexis Sosa, 18, and his 14-year-old nephew, Jeffrey Sosa. He later requested that the deal, which required him to testify against his co-defendants, be withdrawn. The judge withheld ruling pending new counsel.
On Monday and Tuesday, Nunes was back before 20th Judicial Circuit Judge Thomas S. Reese with his new defense attorney, Melodee A. Smith from Fort Lauderdale. Smith moved forward on filing a motion to withdrawal Nunes’ plea deal, but Reese again reserved making a ruling. He will enter a written ruling.
According to Samantha Syoen, the spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office, Nunes was facing the death penalty prior to entering into a plea deal with the state. If Reese grants the motion to withdraw the deal, and the case goes to trial, Nunes will again face the death penalty if he is found guilty.
Smith would not comment Wednesday on the court proceedings or motion.
“We’re waiting for the judge to deliberate,” she said.
Assistant State Attorneys Marie Doerr and Bob Lee are prosecuting the case. Both assigned to the Homicide Unit with the State Attorney’s Office, they were unavailable for comment Wednesday.
“Until the cases are completed, the prosecutors cannot discuss the cases,” Syoen said.
Nunes was one of 10 people arrested and charged in the so-called Cash Feenz murders. The Sosas were hog-tied, beaten and tortured at a Cape Coral duplex in October 2006. Driven to an industrial park, they were fatally shot and Alexis’ body was put in the truck of a car and set on fire. Jeffrey’s body was found later lying nearby.
Co-defendant Kenneth “Ant” Lopez was also in court on Monday. He pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of arson in a plea deal with the state, according to Syoen. For 50 years in prison, Lopez will have to testify against Nunes if needed.
She said Lopez was also facing death if he was found guilty in a trial.
Lopez was scheduled to go to trial May 17.
Deputy Public Defender Kathleen M. Fitzgeorge, who is representing Lopez, was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Lopez and Nunes are the only remaining co-defendants in the case.
Melissa Rivera, Iriana Santos, Alexis Fernandez, Cody Roux and Michael Balint have each pleaded guilty to lesser crimes and will receive prison sentences varying between 14 years and 26 years in exchange for their testimony.
Kemar Johnston, Roderick Washington and Ashley Toye were found guilty following separate trials. Johnston and Washington were each sentenced to four consecutive life sentences plus 30 years in prison, while Toye received life in prison without parole.
Johnston’s attorney has filed a notice of appeal against the judgement and sentence imposed by Reese.
Nunes next court date is set for June 14.