Jury spares life of deaf man convicted of murders - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Jury spares life of deaf man convicted of murders

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By Bennett Haeberle WDRB-TV Fox 41 News    bhaeberle@fox41.com

LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- A jury spared a convicted killer's life and instead recommended he serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole for 25 years.

Jurors returned that sentence recommendation Tuesday evening after convicting Jeston Murray late Monday on two counts of murder, robbery, burglary and tampering with physical evidence.

Murray and another man, Michael Knights, were implicated in the slayings of 72-year old Darrell Spencer and Marcus Penny.

Prosecutors say Murray and Knights used an ax to kill Spencer at an Army-Navy surplus where he worked in late December of 2008. Eight days later, prosecutors say the two men used a knife they stole from that same store to kill Marcus Penny, who Knights knew.

Knights is currently serving a life sentence without parole for 25 years after pleading guilty to the crimes earlier this year. 

During the sentence hearing phase of the trial Tuesday afternoon, Murray apologized to the courtroom through an interpreter.

"I apologize for what happened," said Murray through an interpreter. "And for not going to police sooner because I was afraid of Michael and his behavior. I realize I  made a grave mistake."

Murray's defense attorney, David Mejia, argued repeatedly before the trial began that the two murders were unrelated and should not have been tried together.

Mejia called the guilty verdict late Monday "grossly unfair" and "a travesty of justice." He said he plans to appeal the verdict but agreed to go through with the sentence portion of the trial.

This story will be updated.

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