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Jurors recommend the death penalty for John Sexton in Pasco

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John Sexton Junior shows no emotion after hearing the jury recommend the death penalty for the murder of a Pasco County woman. John Sexton Junior shows no emotion after hearing the jury recommend the death penalty for the murder of a Pasco County woman.
NEW PORT RICHEY, FL (WFLA) -

By a ten to two vote, a Pasco County jury has recommended the death penalty for john sexton junior.

Sexton showed no emotion when he heard the recommendation for death.  Last month, the same jury convicted Sexton of the brutal murder of Ann Parlato of Port Richey in 2010.

Sexton's attorney, Byron Hileman, tried to convince the jury that his client suffers from mental illness from being abused as a child and the abuse of alcohol.

"Obviously we're disappointed but we did the best we could and the system worked the way it's suppose to work. That's our job to try to make it work properly and we did our job as best we could."

Jeri Barr is Ann Parlato's niece. She said the jury made the right decision.

"They actually performed justice in my aunt's name. They weighed presentation by both the defense and the prosecution and they sorted out the truth and I was very pleased today. It's finally coming to an end."

Dori Cifelli helped to take care of Parlato. She says she is relieved with the jury's decision.

"We get justice. Ann's got justice. And now we can kind of like finally start healing because it's been two and a half years where we haven't had a rest."

John Sexton will be back in court on August 2nd for a pre-sentencing investigation hearing.

Monday, Sexton showed no emotion last month when a jury found him guilty of the brutal murder of 94 year old Ann Parlato of Port Richey in 2010.

But Tuesday, Sexton did react when he read a letter to Judge Mary Handsel, asking for a new lawyer.

"I don't think I'm getting adequate defense in this matter and I would like to move that my counsel be dismissed and me to be reassigned to someone that can actually defend me from the death penalty."

Sexton went on to tell the judge that his attorney has no credibility with the jury, that his defense team failed to get a continuance and that some of his witnesses are not available.

Judge Handsel responded, telling Sexton that "at this point the request to dismiss court appointed counsel will be denied."

The jury was then brought in and the sentencing hearing began. Sexton watched as his defense team explained why the death penalty should not be given.

Defense attorney, Byron Hileman told the jury, "we will present evidence that Mr. Sexton has possibly his entire life suffered from serious mental illness. Bi-polar disorder."

Hileman called criminal defense investigator Carol Springer to the stand to read a letter she received from Sexton's sister.

"He would go into fades of life to block out what was going on around him. He would also tell others of a life that didn't really exist."

Assistant state attorney Mike Halkitis asked a corrections deputy that works at the jail about Sexton's behavior.

"Did you ever find that there was any problems with his train of thought? No. Any problems with memory? No."

 

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