I am across the street at Della Voce awaiting the Court to reconvene for the Sentencing.
The morning session was hard.
Judge Wilson began by instructing the jury. The jury is to weigh the aggravating factors with the mitigating factors. Should they agree unanimously that the aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors, then they are to find for the death penalty for Luis Aguirre.
If they do not agree, the Court will then impose a sentence of Life in Prison Without Chance of Parole.
The defense lists about 35 points as mitigating factors:
- no history of crime/violence
- his (young) age at the time of the crime (21ish?)
- crime committed under emotional distress
- poverty in youth
- abused in childhood
- alcoholic mother
- children who love him
- family who love him
- after dropping out of college he obtained a GED
- belonged to the National Guard
- inspired a cousin to join National guard
- no consistent male role models
- lived in gang infested neighborhood
- did not join a gang
- frequent moves/instability
- poor role models
- poverty kept him from opportunities for success
- mother smoked marijuana while pregnant
- mother drank alcohol while pregnant (with Luis)
- testing shows mild brain dysfunction
- brain dysfunction decreases ability to deal with stress
- protected mother and sister
- low ability to tolerate aggression shown to him
- high risk of post traumatic reaction to stress
- experience after events at issue (murder) similar to post traumatic loss and sadness, suggestive of remorse
- exhibited remorse
- no history of initiating violence in adulthood
- testing = no indications that he is a Psychopath (BTW, psychopath is different than sociopath)
- testing inconsistent with what would be expected from a person involved in this type of crime (for which he was found guilty)
- testing suggests he would not be a threat in jail
- took advantage of jailed time already
- was commended by corrections officials
- daughter needs opportunity to speak to him later in life
- he was a good brother
- any thing the jury might think of
- General Mercy
He began by gently putting right on the table the weight, the trouble of such a decision put on the jury. He indicated that he would respect their decision. He slowly built the case, raising more and more difficult pieces of the evidence.
After this mitigation phase, where we heard the sadness of a family upbringing, it was horrifying to consider again the two murders that had been committed.
With skill Mr. Wilkerson allowed a Contradiction to come into relief:
The defense wanted all the terrible trials of youth as mitigating factors,
that Luis Aguirre surmounted these abuses and circumstances to be OK, better than OK-- to also be mitigating factors.
Mr. Wilkerson used his hands to suggest that the weight of two dead young people could in no way be outweighed by these mitigating factors. He suggested that in fact, many of the mitigating factors should be given zero weight.
|Juan Maldonado, August 5-2008 -- September 21, 2009|
After 30 minutes, it was the turn of the defense to describe the mitigating factors and argue for the Life of Luis Aguirre. Mr. Wicks took about 45 minutes to describe in great detail the hard life of Mr. Aguirre. At the end he asked the jury to give Mr. Aguirre life in prison, even if only to show Mercy to other good folks:
his teacher who helped him, his foster mother who cared for him, his mother, his sisters, his aunts, the defense assistant Sid (sp?) who was the last witness and who had read a lengthy letter from Luis--and others in Luis' life.
A couple of folks from the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty were present; i will add HERE their contact information later.
Barry Disney stepped up for the final note from the State.
He was five minutes of Fire.
He was the cymbals crashing at the end of Barry Wilkerson's symphonic opening. (at one point he asked, referencing Luis' abuse by his mom, "An abusive mother??!! What about a father who KILLS you?!")
[At 12:45 a.m. on September 21 2009, Tanya nd Juan were alive; at 1:00 a.m. on the 22nd Luis Aguirre was covering them in dirt!]
Mr. Disney described Life: he asked us to imagine Colorado (good call) and the air and sun and experience of breathing it all lin... etc...--- That is Life. How can two lives, whose existance was snuffed out, be outweighed by these mitigating factors??
First day opening statements of TRIAL HERE
Death Penalty/ sociopathic nature:
Risk factors HERE
OK i am going back to the courthouse. It is now 12:35. If i had to guess, i would guss 2:00 for a time. But who knows?