Painesville: Jury says unanimous 'death penalty' for murder

6:26 PM, Oct 4, 2012   |    comments
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PAINESVILLE -- The jury has unanimously recommended the death penalty in the sentencing in the murder of Mentor-on-the-Lake bartender Annie McSween.

The judge will now decide whether or not to accept the jury's recommendation or sentence Joe Thomas to life in prison.

After a full day of deliberations, the jury ordered dinner as they continued talking behind closed doors. They presented their recommendation just after 7 p.m. 

In an unsworn statement before the court earlier Thursday, Joe Thomas denied to the jury that he had any involvement in the murder he was convicted of committing.

Thomas told jurors he passed a polygraph test but another suspect did not.

He did not apologize or offer any condolences to family members of the victim, Annie McSween, who were present in the Lake County courtroom.

The polygraph test Thomas mentioned had previously been ruled inadmissable and the jury was instructed by the judge to disregard Thomas' statement.

Thomas is facing the possibility of the death penalty in the 2010 Thanksgiving murder of McSween.

Police say McSween was ambushed in the parking lot of Mario's Lakeway Lounge after her shift. She was raped, beaten then stabbed to death.

Thomas was convicted of aggravated murder and ten other counts on September 28.

The jury began deliberating the punishment phase of Thomas' trial just after noon. They will recommend to the judge either life in prison or the death penalty.


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