Central Florida man guilty in fatal shooting; faces mandatory life sentence


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BARTOW, Florida — A central Florida man faces a mandatory life sentence for his part in a fatal shooting.

A Polk County jury found 24-year-old Alex Baez guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder. The judge agreed to delay sentencing, but prosecutors didn't seek the death penalty, meaning the only other option is life in prison.

Authorities say Baez and 21-year-old Charles Pandolfo lured 21-year-old Jose Manuel Santos to a Davenport orange grove in November 2012 to kill him. Santos' body was found in a shallow grave five days after his family reported him missing.

Prosecutors say Baez and Pandolfo killed Santos because Santos was in an abusive relationship with Pandolfo's sister. Officials weren't sure which man actually shot Santos in the back of the head.

The Ledger (http://goo.gl/mKdmvG ) reports that Pandolfo is set to go on trial next week.

Information from: The Ledger (Lakeland, Florida), http://www.theledger.com

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