Jury chooses death penalty for Ellison
The hopes of Vivian Brown were realized Tuesday when Charles Ellison was given the death penalty for the murders of her parents.
Members of the jury greeted Brown with hugs and handshakes Tuesday afternoon following the reading by Superior Court Judge Robert Moon of their unanimous verdict.
"I'm very relieved for mom and dad," Brown said afterward in a courtroom cell phone conversation with her brother Norman, who could not attend.
Ellison was sentenced for the first-degree murders of Joseph and Lillian Boucher in their Kingman home the night of Feb.
A Mohave County Superior Court jury convicted Ellison of the murders and of first-degree burglary in January 2002.
Referring to statements by Ellison's accomplice Richard Finch – who was sentenced by Moon to life in prison without parole - Brown said, "They (her parents) had to hear from them (Ellison and Finch) their death sentence, and now he got to hear his death sentence."
Brown was referring to Finch's statement that he and Ellison told the Bouchers they were going to kill them prior to their suffocation deaths.
"My mother pleaded for her life," Brown said.
"It's just a relief," said the Bouchers' granddaughter Shannon Brown.
Before he read the verdict, Moon read the jurors' individual conclusions regarding five possible mitigating factors against a death sentence.
Seven of the 12 jurors cited Ellison's drug addiction and that fact that at least one member of his family didn't want him to die.
Two jurors found the absence of love and guidance in Ellison's childhood to be a mitigating factor and one juror the absence of "genuine" violence in Ellison's past.
None determined Ellison's supposed decreased mental capacity to be a mitigating concern.
Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith noted that the jury deliberated 11 hours and "took it seriously."
Moon will officially pronounce Ellison's sentence at 4 p.m.
At that time, Ellison also will be sentenced by Moon for the burglary conviction.
He could get between seven and 21 years for that offense.
"I just want to thank the jury.
It was a very hard thing for them to go through and listen to," said Brown.
She also thanked Smith.
"He was really always there … for five years."