AP photo by Jerry Ayres|
Brandon Deon Mitchell is sentenced to death Wednesday in Judge Bill Cole's courtroom in Birmingham.
Jefferson circuit judge gives death sentence to triple-murderer
BIRMINGHAM (AP) — A Jefferson County circuit judge overrode a jury's recommendation and sentenced a 25-year-old Birmingham man to die by lethal injection for his role in the Thanksgiving Day 2005 shooting deaths of three people in the lobby of a Birmingham motel.
The jury had recommended that Brandon Deon Mitchell be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
"I weighed that very heavily in favor of the defendant," Circuit Judge Bill Cole, who presided over Mitchell's capital murder trial, said Wednesday. "But everything tells me the jury did not make the right decision."
Mitchell and a co-defendant were accused of shooting a clerk and two guests execution-style in the head during a robbery at the Airport Inn.
Killed were Kim Olney, 28, John Aylesworth, 42, and Dorothy Smith, 58.
Mitchell and a cohort were caught on a security video as the gunmen fled with $300 from a cash drawer and a small safe.
Olney, a mother of two, had started working at the motel as a front desk clerk three weeks before the killings. Aylesworth, of Sulphur Springs, Texas, a former Marine, had just checked out and was waiting for a ride.
Smith, a Tuscaloosa native who lived in New York City, was visiting her son and granddaughter for the holiday and was about to check into the motel.
A co-defendant, Roderick Byrd, will go on trial Feb. 5. Mitchell, who was released from prison about a month before the killings, is scheduled for a capital murder trial Feb. 26 in another homicide.
Last November, the jury voted 10-2 in recommending Mitchell be sentenced to life without parole.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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