Thursday, December 13, 2007

Convicted killer sentenced to die for 1999 Jacksonville slaying

The Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A man convicted of murdering a Jacksonville woman in 1999 and linked to six other killings was sentenced Thursday to death.

Circuit Judge Jack Schemer followed a jury's 10-2 recommendation for lethal injection in June and sentenced Paul Durousseau, 37, for killing Teresa Mack, a mother of three.

"This was a consciously hideous crime," Schemer said. Durousseau is manipulative, devious and crafty, the judge said as he read his sentencing order, which lasted more than 30 minutes.

Mack was found raped, robbed and asphyxiated in her apartment. Her death was one of six local murders tied to Durousseau, a cab driver.

Prosecutors have dropped the remaining five charges, citing concerns about how the appeals process could affect the cases. Durousseau, in jail since 2003, still faces a charge of killing a woman in Columbus, Ga.

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.

Schemer said the brutality of the slaying was among the reasons why he agreed Durousseau should die. Under Florida law, judges are supposed to give great weight to a jury's sentencing recommendation.

Prosecutors used DNA evidence, eyewitness testimony and similarities in two other killings to link Durousseau to Mack's death.

Durousseau took the stand in his own defense. He admitted lying repeatedly to police about knowing the women and having sex with them, saying he did so because he felt intimidated by detectives.

Mack's sisters, Latasha Bell and Sharabia Mack, were among those in the courtroom as Schemer pronounced the sentence.


Information from: The Florida Times-Union,

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