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4 sentenced in slaying of Florida couple

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The men pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges
  • Sentences range from 17 and a half years to 24 years
  • Authorities: 9 special-needs children were home at the time of the slayings
  • The couple was shot after a crew of masked men dressed as ninjas bust into their home

(CNN) -- Four men were sentenced in Florida on Thursday for their roles in the 2009 killings of a husband and wife who were shot to death when a crew of masked men burst into their home.

Nine special-needs children the couple had adopted were in the house at the time of the murders, authorities said.

Leonard Gonzalez Sr., Rakeem Florence, Gary Sumner and Fredrick Thornton Jr. pleaded no contest to second-degree murder charges for their roles in the slayings, according to court records.

According to court records, Escambia County Circuit Judge Nickolas P. Geeker sentenced the four to terms ranging from 17½ to 24 years in prison.

Gonzalez is the father of the convicted ringleader of the 2009 attack, CNN affiliate WEAR reported.

In February, Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr. was sentenced to death for his role in the killings. He is appealing the ruling.

CNN's Karen Smith contributed to this report.