Jury selection in set to begin Monday in the retrial for Victor Diaz, once convicted in the murder of an innocent motorist shot to death in the aftermath of a 2007 robbery and car chase.
Diaz had been sentenced to life in prison after a jury convicted him in January of 70-year -old retired kosher baker Samuel Salomon’s death.
Circuit Judge Krista Marx on in May granted Diaz’s request for a new trial based on allegations of juror misconduct from Philip Elliott, who in a series of private messages with another juror claimed he knew both Marx and her husband personally and because of that felt Marx “went easy” on him when investigating misconduct claims after Diaz January trial.
Diaz and five other men are accused of a 2007 robbery at the Three Amigos convenience and check cashing store in West Boynton Beach. Store owner Sian Kiat Koh chased the assailants in his car, and in the ensuing chase one of the robbers took out a gun and tried to shoot him.
Hit in the crossfire was Salomon, who was on his way home from Hanukkah shopping with his wife. Salomon died of his injuries.
Three of the other men have been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for Salomon’s death. A fourth is serving 18 years after he agreed to testify against the others, and Raul Andino, the alleged mastermind of the robbery plot, is awaiting trial.
In his first trial in 2010, the jury convicted Diaz of armed robbery and burglary charges but acquitted him of attempted murder charges and was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the murder charge, splitting 7-5 in favor of acquittal.