Interesting facts about Virginia Executions.
Updated: Tuesday, 10 Nov 2009, 7:53 AM EST
Published : Monday, 09 Nov 2009, 9:26 PM EST
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va - More than 20 were shot, 13 died, seven were wounded and countless people were impacted by the deadly intentions of John Allen Muhammad and his young protégé Lee Boyd Malvo.
"It's easy to bring back the memories of what happened and how terrorized the east coast was," Jerry Haggerty told WAVY.com.
Haggerty served as foreman on the Virginia Beach jury that convicted Muhammad and sentenced him to death. He said he and fellow jurors took their responsibility seriously and weighed all of the evidence.
"It had a heavy burden on a lot of people, particularly with the severity of the trial and the results," he explained.
The trial that took place in Virginia Beach in 2003 was for Dean Meyers' murder. The "Beltway Sniper" as Muhammad was named, killed Meyers while he pumped gas in Manassas, Virginia. However during the trial, prosecutors laid out the details of every shooting from Maryland to D.C., to Alabama and the Commonwealth.
Haggerty recalled jurors were convinced of Muhammad's guilt, but deciding he should die was not a simple task.
"There were some strong opinions on both sides. One individual said she no longer believed in the death penalty. Others said he's guilty and according to what we've been presented if we found this, this, and this, to be the case, then we should vote for the death penalty...We had some heated discussions."
Ultimately he said, "We didn't see any remorse. I'm still not aware of him ever apologizing to any of his victims. We believed in our hearts he'd do it again. We felt that was enough to say if anybody deserved the death penalty, he did."
With the appointment in a death chamber just hours away, defense attorneys continue to argue Muhammad has a mental illness.
Monday, Muhammad's attorney Jon Sheldon said of Muhammad's mood, "Even the coming of one's own execution, somebody that is severely mentally ill just responds differently...he hasn't responded to the events that are going on around him."
Haggerty told WAVY.com Muhammad's attorneys never made those arguments during the trial - and don't change his mind now.
"I think it was the right decision, and I still think it's the right decision," he said.
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