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Archive for the ‘CASH FEENZ MURDERS’ Category

By PHILLIP BANTZ

Naples Daily News: Jan. 26, 2007

Alexis and Jeffrey Sosa were ridiculed, their flesh was carved and bleach was poured onto their faces and open wounds during the hours leading up to their deaths, according to more than 400 pages of chilling court documents released Thursday.

The Sosas suffered through hours of torture before they were shot to death in a remote Cape Coral industrial park and burned beyond recognition, the State Attorney’s Office revealed.

Detectives learned from cell phone records and interviews with numerous witnesses that 18-year-old Alexis and his 14-year-old nephew, Jeffrey, attended an Oct. 6 party at a duplex home on 2124 N.E. Eighth Place, where they were ambushed by a group of armed youths.

Police have linked the Sosas’ alleged killers to a local gang and rap recording group known as the “Cash Feenz.”

The nine suspects — Kemar Johnston, 21, Kenneth Lopez, 18, Alexis Fernandez, 19, Cody Roux, 18, Paul Nuñes, 18, Roderick Washington, 17, Melissa Rivera, 20, Ashley Toye, 18 and Iriana Santos, 16 — are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

The State Attorney’s Office is seeking the death penalty against all six of the adult suspects. Toye, Washington and Santos were underage at the time of the crime and face life in prison.

Witness statements to detectives indicate that an inflammatory message Alexis recorded on the cellular phone of one of the suspects ignited the violence.

The documents released Thursday tell the following tale of the night’s events:

Partygoers began punching and kicking the Sosas after hearing the message.

As the beating went on, Johnston reportedly stated, “You done tried too many people in this area, see how many people you tried in this house, you ain’t going home tonight.”

One of the partygoers punched Alexis with such force that his gold teeth were knocked to the floor. When Johnston was arrested Oct. 26 in Miami, police reportedly discovered gold teeth in a duffel bag in his hotel room.

DNA testing to determine whether the teeth belong to Alexis is ongoing.

Alexis pleaded for his life.

At one point he said, “please stop, please don’t do it.”

Johnston’s response was, “don’t say no … you ain’t going home tonight,” states the report.

After being bound with shoelaces, Johnston reportedly told Alexis to “hit the last cigarette you’re gonna hit, drink the last taste of liquor you’re gonna drink.”

Another underage witness said she could hear Alexis screaming in pain as he was being burned with cigarettes.

“While Alexis was tied up, Washington sat next to him pointing a handgun at him and poured bleach on Alexis’ face,” the witness reportedly said.

Alexis was screaming, praying and speaking in gibberish as the torture continued.

The female members of the group, known as “Cash Queenz,” and Johnston carved initials into Alexis’ back, according to one witness.

Jeffrey jumped on top of Alexis in an attempt to protect his uncle and was subsequently kicked and punched.

The Sosas were eventually loaded into the trunk of Fernandez’s Ford sedan and driven to a North Cape Coral industrial park, where the suspects took turns firing bullets into Alexis.

Johnston then asked Jeffrey if he wanted to leave the industrial park and go home, according to witness statements.

“Jeffrey told him, ‘yes’ and as he began walking away Johnston told him to wait, and when Jeffrey turned around, Johnston shot him in the head.”

Firefighters discovered the Sosas in their scorched Lexus coupe Oct. 7.

An autopsy later determined that Jeffrey was shot seven times and that Alexis was so severely burned that he was unidentifiable.

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Toye was 17 at the time of the brutal murders of Alexis and Jeffrey Sosa. She was celebrating the 20th birthday of her boyfriend and father of her child, Kemar Johnston, in October when Jeffrey, 14, and his uncle Alexis, 18, were bound, beaten, carved with knives, doused with bleach and eventually shot to death.

Two lives ended that night. The lives of the nine youths accused in the crime hang in the balance. But in the aftermath of the tragedy, a baby was born.

While restrained to a hospital bed May 10, Toye gave birth to a 7-pound, 6-ounce boy. Her baby, Azariah, is now living with Johnston’s father, Hugh Johnston, 52, in northeast Cape Coral.

Azariah is a biblical name of Hebrew origin that means, “Helped by God.”

Toye was allowed 30 minutes with Azariah before her child was taken away, said Hugh Johnston. He presented a picture ID to a social worker handling Toye’s case and took custody of his grandchild within 48 hours of his birth.

“It feels good. It’s delightful knowing he’s not going to grow up in a foster home,” said Hugh Johnston. “That was our wish.”

Ashley Toye’s father, Clifford Toye, said he does not want custody of Azariah.

“I raised three children myself,” he said. “I do not plan on raising another one.”

Hugh Johnston and Clifford Toye were sitting in the same Lee County courtroom March 29 when a jury found Ashley Toye guilty in the torture-slaying. They have never spoken to each other.

“I don’t know Mr. Johnston. I’ve never met him,” said Clifford Toye. “I’m undecided on what I want to do yet. I’ll call him eventually.”

When Hugh Johnston looks down at his bed and sees Azariah, a tiny face framed by the white- and-blue blankets wrapped around his little head and body, he smiles peacefully. For him, Azariah represents a victory of sorts.

“I would be sitting here day and night wondering who had him and what was happening to him.”

Azariah has his mother’s lips and eyes but looks more like his father, said Hugh Johnston.

When asked about the future he envisions for Azariah, Hugh Johnston said: “If I could foresee the future, my kids would still be with me.”

Kemar Johnston is sitting in the Lee County Jail awaiting a pending trial. He faces the death penalty if convicted in the Sosa murders. Hugh Johnston’s 21-year-old son, Kian Johnston, is in state prison after pleading no contest last April to charges of DUI and child neglect.

“I feel hurt, but no regrets, because I raised them the right way,” said Hugh Johnston. “I never raised my sons like that and we can never know what they’ll do when they walk out the door.”

As he speaks, Janessa Johnston, 2, and Jeremiah Johnston, 4, chase each other through the house, giggling.

The children are the product of a relationship between Kian Johnston and Melissa Rivera. Rivera, 20, was the first defendant to plead guilty in the Sosa murders. She will receive a 20-year prison sentence if she testifies against the remaining slaying suspects.

Hugh Johnston said Rivera was a “neglectful mom” and that he called Child Protection Services to take custody of Janessa and Jeremiah. He has taken care of the children for the past two years.

While both children know their mother is incarcerated, he said they don’t know why. He plans on telling all three of his grandchildren about the darker side of their parents’ lives, but only when they are old enough to understand.

“I will wait until their minds are well-adjusted so the impact won’t be that hard on them,” he said. “I want to let them realize how good, dangerous or treacherous friendships can be. It’s a good lesson for kids.”

Life in prison

Ashley Toye, now 18, is serving a life sentence without parole at the Broward Correctional Institution in Fort Lauderdale. Unlike Rivera and another of her co-defendants, 16-year-old Iriana Santos, Ashley Toye refused a plea deal from the State Attorney’s Office.

Rivera and her attorney first negotiated a 20-year prison sentence. The state later gave Santos a 25-year sentence. Like Ashley Toye, both admitted to peripheral roles in the killings.

Clifford Toye said the state offered his daughter a 35-year sentence in exchange for her testimony.

“We were given the same option, but when you’re 17 and looking at 35 years in prison … my daughter admitted to everything right off the bat and made it simple for the prosecutors. She was screwed royally on this thing,” he said.

Clifford Toye spoke with his daughter Thursday. He said the 15-minute conversation was the first time they’d spoken since his daughter’s life was handed over to the state.

“She cries every day. She attends church as much as possible,” he said.

Hugh Johnston said he’s had many conversations with Kemar Johnston and Ashley Toye.

“We only speak about the necessary things” because the phone lines are recorded, he said. “Kemar asks if the baby is doing OK and things like that.”

Ashley Toye and her attorney told jurors Kemar Johnston was an abusive and controlling boyfriend. After two years of abuse, Toye knew the violence she would suffer if she disobeyed Johnston, and that is why she tortured Jeffrey Sosa and cleaned the crime scene, according to her attorney.

Authorities and attorneys for some of the co-defendants have labeled Kemar Johnston as the group’s ringleader. They say he fueled the bloodlust that led to the Sosas’ horrific end.

Hugh Johnston describes a different person.

“Kemar was a good kid. He was never disrespectful or anything,” he said. “He went to church with us every Sunday.”

Clifford Toye said he forbade his daughter from seeing Kemar Johnston for at least eight months before the murders occurred. On that deadly night, she was supposed to be sleeping over at a friend’s house, he said.

“I did not approve of their relationship at all,” he said. “She knew that and she couldn’t tell me what was going on.”

Clifford Toye said he believes his daughter’s court-appointed attorney, John D. Mills, made a mistake in opting for a speedy trial.

“I believe he (Mills) did everything he could do,” he said. “I just believe things could have been different with a private lawyer.”

Cash Feenz

The nine youths accused of killing the Sosas were members of a self-styled gang known as the “Cash Feenz,” according to authorities.

But Clifford Toye and Hugh Johnston both said their children have never been gang members and were actually aspiring rap musicians.

“The police said this was a gang from Day 1 and that has never been substantiated,” said Clifford Toye.

Hugh Johnston said he provided a computer and the electronic mixers the Cash Feenz used to create and record their music.

“They were doing music,” he said. “There was no gang business.”

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