Thursday, April 25, 2013

Man gets death sentence for stabbing teen cousins to death with screwdriver

Man gets death sentence for stabbing teen cousins to death with screwdriver, A man who pleaded guilty to killing two teenage cousins after raping one of them was sentenced to death by lethal injection on Wednesday.

Mr. Jeremy Moody, 35, pleaded guilty last week to killing 15-year-old Delarlnova “Del” Mattox and 13-year-old Chrisondra Sierra Kimble after raping Chrisondra in April 2007, according to the Fulton County District Attorney's office.

The teens were reported missing after they walked from their homes to an Old National Highway store to buy snacks on April 5.

The next day they were found naked in a wooded area behind Bethune Elementary School with multiple stab wounds to their heads and necks, the district attorney's spokeswoman Ms. Yvette Jones said.

Investigators said Mr. Moody had confronted the teens with a screwdriver in an attempt to rob them.

“Moody raped the young girl and then stabbed both teens dozens of times in the head, throat and chest areas with a screwdriver,” Ms. Jones said. “Moody later confessed to his girlfriend who notified police. He was arrested at the Greyhound Bus station a day after the murders.”

After five and half hours of deliberation, jurors returned with the death penalty and Mr. Moody was immediately transferred to the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson where he will eventually be executed, she said.

Six of the charges against him, which include two counts of murder and kidnapping, carried death as the maximum penalty. He was also convicted of rape, aggravated assault and armed robbery.

For the non-death penalty charges, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Mr. Christopher Basher added three consecutive life sentences plus 40 years to the two death sentences.

Mr. Pete Johnson, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case, said prosecutors sought the death penalty because the circumstances of the murders fit the state’s criteria for capital punishment cases — if the murder occurs during another capital felony, in this case the rape of Chrisondra, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Mr. Johnson also said the killings were carried out in a manner that was considered torture, and reflected an abandoned heart or a depraved mind — more state-mandated criteria for death penalty consideration, the paper reported.

“The fact that 13-year-old Chrisondra Kimble was stabbed approximately 17 times in the head and neck with a screwdriver and raped at the same time … while her 15-year-old cousin “Del” Mattox Jr. was stabbed almost 40 times in the head and chest with a screwdriver, impaling his skull and going into his brain would qualify for a death penalty case,” Mr. Johnson said.

Although Mr. Moody was arrested a day after the teens disappeared, it took prosecutors six years to bring the case to trial because he continued to intentionally injure himself in the Fulton County jail, prosecutors said.

The victims’ grandmother, Ms. Vivian Mattox, told Channel 2 Action News that her family is pleased with the outcome.

“We just knew justice was going to be served,” Ms. Mattox said.

During sentencing, defense attorneys attempted to show that Mr. Moody was an unstable drug abuser who was the product of growing up around drug-addicted parents.

“We were saddened that (jurors) didn’t give the mitigation evidence as much consideration as we thought it warranted,” defense attorney Mr. Maurice Kenner told the AJC. “We plan on filing an appeal or motion for a new trial within the next week. We think there are some areas of error.”

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