Sentencing verdict reached in cop killer's murder trial
A sentencing verdict has been reached in the trial against convicted cop killer Jamie Hood. A jury delivered two life sentences, one with the possibility of parole and one without.
Hood has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Officer Elmer Buddy Christian.
Hood called his own witnesses to the stand in an Athens-Clarke County Courtroom, hoping to convince jurors not to sentence him to death.
Thursday, Hood's mother offered an emotional apology to the families of the three men he shot four years ago. Azalee Hood appeared to be speaking directly to the family of Elmer Buddy Christian Thursday afternoon.
"I'm so sorry. I wish I could take it all back, but I can't. What he did hurts me to my soul," Hood's mother said with tears in her eyes.
The 37-year-old convicted killer called his mother to the stand to talk about his past, her son's Timothy's fatal shooting at the hands of Athens police in 2001, and the heartache she's suffered since. But it was her own remorse that seemed to resonate throughout the courtroom.
"I didn't raise him like that. I struggle with hating what he did and trying to love him. This is a terrible thing. I'd hate for anyone else to hurt like this," Mrs. Hood said of her 37-year-old son.
Mrs. Hood's testimony followed that of several young women who told the jury Hood mentored and coached their sons-always encouraging them to stay of trouble. Hood is trying to convince a jury of Elbert County jurors to spare his life.
The 37-year-old man, who is acting as his own attorney, asked for a mistrial Wednesday and again Thursday morning. Hood argued the volume of pictures of Officer Elmer “Buddy” Christian shown in court Wednesday has prejudiced the jury.
Wednesday, jurors were in tears as friends and relatives made their victim impact statements. Some of those witnesses wept or even sobbed as they recalled what life has been like without Officer Christian. The judge denied Hood's motion for a mistrial.
The jury, comprised of sequestered residents from Elbert County, convicted Hood of Officer Christian's murder on Monday. They also found Hood guilty of shooting and wounding Officer Tony Howard during the same encounter in March 2011. The jury also convicted Hood of the December 2010 murder of Kenneth Omari Wray.
Loved ones from all three families have observed the daily proceedings in this month long trial.
Closing arguments in the penalty phase begin Friday at 9 a.m. Hood considered testifying after his mother Thursday, and then opted to save his comments for closing arguments. It may be next week before the jury can begin deliberating Hood's sentencing options--life in prison (with or without parole) or death.