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Deciding killer's fate took much consideration

By Johnny Johnson Modified: March 8, 2008 at 5:17 pm •  Published: March 8, 2008

When closing arguments were made, it took the seven man, five woman jury only about 25 minutes to return a guilty verdict.

The deliberation between life and death, however, was much different.

The same jury that came back with a guilty verdict after 25 minutes was sequestered in the deliberation room for 8 hours and 15 minutes before they were able to come to a consensus on punishment.

"It was getting to the point where if we didn't come to a decision (Friday night) it was going to take a couple more days," 22-year-old juror Ryan Gadberry said.

The capital murder trial was the first jury duty for Gadberry, and it disturbed the Chesapeake Energy welder more than he thought possible.

"I wouldn't have wished this on anybody," he said, referring to the horrific images he can't seem to shake. "I haven't slept in three weeks, man. I'm going to have to talk to my pastor about it this weekend."

Juror Claudette Brumit said there's a big difference between just saying that you don’t oppose the death penalty and actually deciding that someone should die.

When closing statements concluded, Brumit said, she was not in agreement with the majority.

Most of the jurors were ready to take a vote immediately, but Brumit said she was not ready for that and needed to talk about it first.

For jurors such as Earl Garrett, 64, of Oklahoma City, the choice was easy.

During jury selection, Garrett revealed that he once shot a home invader in self-defense and was charged with aggravated assault as a young man after someone else came at him with a knife and "lost."

Garrett said didn’t think he’d lose any sleep knowing his signature was on Underwood's death warrant

In fact, he said he expected the opposite.

Garrett felt so strongly that he took a hard line with the two jurors holding out for life without parole.

"I told them the facts and had to hurt their feelings a little bit," he said. "I wasn't there to make friends. I think that for what he did he deserved to die."

When two women were initially intent on life without parole, Garrett said he felt it was time to look at some of the evidence.

"They didn't want to look at the (autopsy) pictures," he said. "But I thought it was time to look at them because if he had not been caught this time, he would do it again."

Garrett said Underwood showed no remorse.

"He acted like he couldn't care less and that he was getting some attention out of this," Garrett said. "I didn't like that. "It hurts to know you're sending a man to die, but he killed this little girl. He signed his own death warrant. And now we don't have to worry about him doing it again, so I think I can live with that." Formal sentencing is April 3.


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