Jury Recommends Death for Gunman Who Killed 4
A former Marine, who prosecutors said was living out his fantasy when he gunned down four supermarket employees, should be sentenced to death, a jury recommended Friday.
Zane Floyd bowed his head and listened quietly as the decision was read. Some members of the jury cried.
The same panel that convicted Floyd of first-degree murder took less than two days of deliberation to decide his fate.
Juror Tim LeMaster made a statement on behalf of the jury, saying their decision had not been easy. He said the news headlines should say: “Prayers needed for Las Vegas.”
In addition to the June 3, 1999, slayings at an Albertson’s grocery store, Floyd, 24, was also convicted of the attempted murder of a fifth supermarket employee and of raping and kidnapping an out-call entertainer just before the shootings.
Clark County Dist. Atty. Stewart Bell said the shootings had taken their toll on the survivors as well as the victims. “None of these people will ever get over what happened to them. None of them.”
Bell said it was clear the jury had considered every aspect of the case before making its decision.
“They did a lot of soul searching. It was emotionally draining,” Bell said. “As a community, we owe them a debt of gratitude.”
Defense attorneys tried to portray Floyd as an emotionally and mentally troubled man who had turned to drugs and alcohol. A psychiatrist who treated Floyd when he was 13 testified that he had a variety of problems, including attention deficit disorder.
His lawyers said Floyd became mentally unhinged the morning of the shootings. But a neuropsychologist testified during the penalty phase of the trial that Floyd knew what he was doing during the five-minute shooting outburst.
Bell described Floyd as a “hollow soul” who was living out his fantasies when he raped the out-call entertainer and then shot the Albertson’s workers.
The defense put a string of witnesses on the stand Tuesday in an effort to save Floyd’s life. Floyd and his parents took the stand to deliver sometimes emotional testimony.
A composed Floyd apologized but said, “There’s not a whole lot I can say to the families of the four people I killed,” Floyd said. “I can’t take back what I did, but I would if I could.”
Formal sentencing was scheduled for Aug. 31, when District Judge Jeffrey Sobel also will decide Floyd’s sentence on the attempted murder, rape and kidnapping charges.
Floyd’s death sentence recommendation was the second in two days in a Las Vegas court. A jury recommended Thursday that Fernando Hernandez, 38, receive the death penalty for stabbing and strangling his ex-wife. The couple’s 3-year-old daughter witnessed the murder.
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