Calhoun County jury considers capital punishment sentence - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Calhoun County jury considers capital punishment sentence

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ANNISTON - AL -

A Calhoun County man convicted of capital murder will learn this week if he will face execution.  Defense attorneys for Nicholas Daniel Smith will call their final witnesses Tuesday.

This is the sentencing phase of Smith's trial.  The same jurors convicted him last week of the April 2011 kidnapping and murder of 29-year-old Kevin Thompson.

Thompson's mother, Frances Curry, asked the jury Monday to sentence her son's killer to death.  She told jurors, "if you take a life when no one is doing anything to you, you must give your life."

Curry quoted the Bible and said "thou shalt not kill, and if you murder, your life should be taken away."  She said Nicholas Smith's actions were not an accident and could not be called a bad decision, but that he made a conscious choice to kill her son.

Thompson's sister, Rena Curry, also asked for the death penalty, and said "my Bible says an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.  He took away my best friend, my brother."

Thompson was a teacher at Wellborn Elementary School, and jurors heard from one of the other teachers at the school and the parent of one of Thompson's former students.  They talked about what a positive influence Thompson was to people at school.

Investigators found Thompson's body off the side of Highway 278 in Cherokee County on April 23, 2011, three days after he went missing.  He was kidnapped, robbed, wrapped in duct tape, and killed with a knife.

Prosecutors charged three men with capital murder, and 24-year-old Nicholas Smith was the first to go to trial.  The jury convicted him July 2.

Smith's mother also testified Monday, and most of the questions for her dealt with her history of drug use and her admitted lack of parenting skills.  Cassandra Smith said she never asked her son about the murder case but wanted to forgive and be there for him.  Attorneys did not ask her opinion of her son's possible sentences.

Another defense witness was Arleen Pollard, the sister of Nicholas Smith's biological father, Arthur.  Pollard testified that giving Smith the death penalty is the easy way out.  She said smith should have to live with what he did, and hopefully share his story with other inmates so they can learn from what he did wrong.

Defense attorneys planned to call Smith's brother, Colby, to the stand Monday afternoon but he disappeared from the courthouse shortly before it was his turn to testify.  Testimony will continue Tuesday morning.

Tyrone Thompson and Jovon Gaston also face capital murder charges in the killing of Kevin Thompson.  They are awaiting prosecution, and District Attorney Brian McVeigh said the next trial will be in about six months, with the third planned for six months later.

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