LEE COUNTY — Editor's Note: This story has been updated since its original publication
A Fort Myers man faces life in prison following his second-degree murder conviction Tuesday in a 2010 Bonita Springs double-homicide.
A Lee County jury’s guilty finding against Dustin McIntyre, 23, effectively ends the prosecution of six men tied to the deaths of Daniel Leonor, 24, of San Carlos Park, and Israel Ponce, 20, of Fort Myers. Their charred bodies were found in a burned SUV in rural Lee County.
Five other defendants have pleaded to charges ranging from manslaughter to battery to accessory after the fact.
Leonor and Ponce were beaten and asphyxiated to death during a drug deal at a Bridgeport Lane home in Bonita Springs. At a deposition, a witness told deputies that Leonor brought drugs to the home and went into a back room. Three men — McIntyre, Colton Lance and Lisandro Resendiz — then started kicking and beating Leonor, knocking him unconscious.
“(Leonor) is telling Dustin McIntyre that he’ll give him everything that he has, that he doesn’t have to do this,” said the witness, Robert Downey Jr.
The three men then went outside, called in Ponce, a partner of Leonor’s, and attacked him from behind, Downey Jr. said. Both victims were choked using phone cords and plastic shopping bags.
The victims’ bodies were put into a Jeep, driven to a rural area east of Bonita Springs and burned in the vehicle.
McIntyre is the only defendant to face life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for March 18.
Resendiz, 23, faces the second-longest sentence — up to 45 years in prison — following his October 2012 guilty plea on lesser charges of manslaughter with a weapon and second-degree arson. Lance, 22, faces up to 16 years in prison after his July 2012 guilty plea on charges of accessory after the fact of a life felony and battery causing bodily harm. Both are scheduled for sentencing March 11.
Two other defendants — Downey Jr. and Angel Heredia — have pleaded to accessory after the fact of a life felony. Downey Jr. cleaned the bloody scene and Heredia helped load the bodies into the Jeep.
“I felt like I should stay there and not say a word,” Downey Jr. said in his deposition, “because it would have been me there also in the Jeep with them guys.”
Downey Jr. and Heredia face up to 15 years in prison, though they could receive lesser sentences for cooperating with prosecutors. They’re also set for sentencing March 11.
Angel Salinas, the sixth defendant, already received three years probation for a lesser after-the-fact charge.