Thursday, December 13, 2007

Accused Serial Killer Sentenced To Death

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A man accused of killing seven women and convicted of one murder was sent to Florida's death row on Thursday.

Paul Durousseau was convicted in June of the rape and slaying of 24-year-old Tyresa Mack in 1999. The same jury voted 10-2 to recommend the death penalty.

Durousseau's attorneys argued that his life should be spared because he suffers from brain damage and other mental illnesses that impaired his behavior. But prosecutors said Durousseau was well aware of what he did when he killed the woman and deserved the death penalty.

On Thursday, Judge Jack Schemer formally sentenced Durousseau to death by lethal injection.

"This was a consciously hideous crime," Schemer said from the bench. "Durousseau is manipulative, devious and crafty."

Schemer said the brutality of the slaying was among the reasons why he agreed with the jury's recommendation that Durousseau should die.

Durousseau was arrested in 2003 and is charged in the deaths of Mack and five other women in Duval County. He is also accused of killing a woman in Columbus, Ga., while he was in the Army and stationed at Fort Benning stationed in 1997.

Last month, the State Attorney's Office dropped the other five murder charges.

Prosecutors were concerned that an acquittal in one of the remaining Jacksonville cases would jeopardize the conviction in the Mack case. Additionally, prosecutors worried an overturned conviction in the Mack case could present problems for the remaining cases.

Durousseau is expected to stand trial in the Georgia slaying. Tracy Habersham's nude body was found Sept. 7, 1997, two days after a party at a club on base. Police said they believe she was strangled shortly after the party.

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