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Jury recommends death for Florence man

FLORENCE (AP) — A day after convicting a Florence man of capital murder, a Lauderdale jury on Thursday recommended the death penalty.

David Dewayne Riley, 22, apologized to jurors for killing 38-year-old Scott Michael Kirtley, testifying that he was high on cocaine when he shot a convenience store clerk in the head during a robbery to pay off a drug debt. The apology came a few hours before jurors convicted Riley of capital murder.

Jurors deliberated Thursday afternoon in the penalty phase of the trial and voted unanimously to recommend the death penalty. Circuit Court Judge Mike Jones is not bound by the recommendation and could instead choose to sentence Riley to life in prison without the possibility for parole.

An appeal is automatic in death penalty cases in Alabama.

In testimony, Riley told the Lauderdale County jury he had no intention of harming Kirtley when he robbed Dandy's No. 2 Package Store on U.S. 72 on Jan. 10, 2005.

"I had nothing in mind to hurt him. I am truly sorry for what has happened. After that first shot went off, my ears started ringing. I was high on crack cocaine. I don't remember anything after that," Riley testified.

District Attorney Chris Connolly called Riley a liar who knew what he was doing when he fired three .22 caliber bullets into Kirtley's head.

Riley testified he robbed the store to get money to pay for a drug debt he owed to co-defendant Duwon Jones.

Jones, 21, of Florence, is accused of being the lookout during the robbery and awaits trial.

Connolly questioned Riley why, if he was unable to remember the shooting, he was able to remember to remove videotapes from two surveillance cameras at the store before he left. Riley had no explanation.

A tape left in a third camera helped police identify Riley as a suspect and arrest him within hours of the robbery and shooting.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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