A jury decided Tuesday against the death penalty for a man accused of killing two Pitt County people in 2007.
Jurors took less than three hoursTuesday to sentence Shelton Mills to life in prison without parole.
Shelton Mills was convicted last Tuesday for the deaths of Cylvonnia Preddy and Robert Bizzell, Jr. in August 2007.
A Pitt County jury is now deciding this afternoon whether a man should be put to death for killing two people.
Shelton Mills was convicted last Tuesday for the deaths of Cylvonnia Preddy and Robert Bizzell, Jr. in August 2007. That same jury on Friday agreed that Mills was not mentally retarded and was eligible for the death penalty.
His lawyers had argued that because his I.Q. is 71 Mills instead should receive life in prison. Anyone who has an I.Q. of 70 or below is not eligible for the death penalty in North Carolina.
Jurors began their deliberations shortly before 12:30 p.m.
A Pitt County jury, which earlier this week found Shelton Mills guilty of killing two people, now says the man is not mentally retarded.
Jurors convicted Mills Tuesday in the deaths of Cylvonnia Preddy and Robert Bizzell, Jr. in August 2007.
They deliberated about 90 minutes Friday afternoon and must now decide whether the man now receives the death penalty or life in prison.
Prosecutors told jurors this morning that Mills' attorneys could not prove the man is mentally retarded because, according to the law, Mills would have to have an I.Q. of 70 and below.
Experts have testified the man has a 71 I.Q. and Mills' attorneys said psychologists testified this week that he is not eligible for the death penalty.
Jurors will return Tuesday morning to continue their deliberations.
Testimony wrapped up Thursday afternoon for the sentencing phase of the Shelton Mills double murder trial. Jurors convicted Mills of killing his ex-girlfriend Cylvonnia Preddy and Robert Bizzell Junior making him eligible for the death penalty. First, jurors must decide if he's mentally retarded.
Defense attorneys called psychologist James Hilkey to the stand Thursday. Doctor Hilkey says Mills is mildly mentally retarded and also suffers from several other mental disorders. He says the difference between Mills, whose IQ is 71, and someone who is legally mentally retarded with an IQ of 70 is negligible. He says Mills' mental illnesses make expressing sadness difficult.
"He expressed sorrow for the Preddy and Bizzell families. But in attempts to follow up later in the interview, there was a denial he said it. So dealing with emotion and affect are very difficult things for Mr. Mills," said Dr. Hilkey
Closing arguments begin Friday morning. If jurors decide Mills is mentally retarded, he'll spend the rest of his life in prison. If they decide he's not, they will deliberate again, to consider the death penalty.
A jury that will have to decide if the man they convicted of killing his girlfriend and her boyfriend will face the death penalty, heard testimony Wednesday about his mental health.
The jury convicted Shelton Mills Tuesday in the deaths of Cylvonnia Preddy and Robert Bizzell, Jr. in August 2007.
Jurors heard testimony from a psychologist about Mills' mental health, as defense attorneys try to make their case Mills is mentally retarded, and his life should be spared.
Dr. Roger Moore, Jr. testified after reviewing Mills records - he believes the difference between Mills - whose I.Q. is 71 - and someone who is legally mentally retarded with an I.Q. of 70 is so small it doesn't make a difference.
When testimony wraps up, jurors will have to decide whether they think Mills is mentally retarded. If they decide he's not, defense attorneys will present evidence as to why his life should be spared.
A Pitt County jury has found a man guilty of killing two people nearly four years ago.
The jury in the case of Shelton Mills came back around 11:30 a.m. with the guilty verdicts after deliberating about 3-1/2 hours over two days. Mills is guilty of two counts of 1st degree murder, first degree burglary and felon in possession of a firearm.
Prosecutors want the death penalty against Mills and that phase of the trial will begin this afternoon.
Mills was accused in the August 2007 deaths of Cylvonnia Preddy and her boyfriend, Robert Bizzell. The two were found dead in a home in Grifton and police said Mills was Preddy's ex-boyfriend.
A jury resumed deliberations Tuesday morning whether a Pitt County man killed two people in Grifton nearly four years ago. Jurors were dismissed about 6:00 p.m. Monday after deliberating about 90 minutes.
Shelton Mills is accused of killing Cylvonnia Preddy and her boyfriend, Robert Bizzell, in August of 2007. The two were found dead in a home in Grifton and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Mills.
Police say Mills was Preddy's ex-boyfriend. Closing arguments took most of Monday. The state told jurors only three people know what really happened that night, and said Mills killed two of them, and should be convicted of first degree murder.
But Mills' defense attorneys argued his whole life has been marked with failure and loss. They say he's mentally retarded and didn't have the "intent" required to commit first degree murder.
Prosecutors reminded jurors that although Mills has an IQ of 71, a doctor testified he's able to make simple plans, and said the murder of Preddy and Bizzell was that kind of plan. "It is a very simple crime to carry out," said Assistant District Attorney Anthony Futrell. "It doesn't take a whole lot of planning to get a gun, drive to someone's house and shoot them both dead and walk out."
"If as a result of lack of mental capacity the defendant did not have the specific intent to kill the deceased formed after the premeditation or deliberation, the defendant is not guilty of first degree murder," defense attorney Allen Foster told jurors.
If jurors convict Mills of first degree murder, a separate sentencing phase will be held to determine if he'll face death or life in prison without parole.