Convicted murderer Edward Bennett told a district court jury Thursday that he has no memory of the shooting that claimed the life of convenience store clerk Michelle Moore on Feb. 9.
The Utah teenager, in an effort to save himself from execution by lethal injection, was allowed to make an unsworn statement to the jury. He told members of the panel he blacked out or passed out and cannot recall the shooting.Bennett said he and his friend, Joseph Beeson, stopped in Las Vegas on their way to Los Angeles and rented a motel room where they drank beer and listened to heavy metal music.
Then, they drove around the city looking for a store to rob because they were out of money, Bennett said.
"The plan was to rob, not to kill," said the 19-year-old Lehi man.
They found one store, but decided against it because it had bulletproof glass, Bennett said. Eventually they found the convenience store where Moore was working as the swing-shift clerk.
"I don't know if I blacked out or passed out, but the last thing I remember is looking out of the (car) window and saying, `How `bout that store'?"
Moore died instantly when Bennett shot her once in the forehead at close range with a .45-caliber revolver.
"I am truly sorry for what happened," he said, apologizing to Colleen Prentice, Moore's mother, who was sitting in the courtroom during the testimony. "She didn't deserve to die like that, nobody does. But, I'm not a killer. I never was and I never will be."
"I don't see the point in my dying, except for revenge. I would like the chance to help others. I would like to write to others while I'm in prison. Believe it or not, I'm a caring person," Bennett said.
Earlier this week, the same jury convicted the Utah teenager of first-degree murder in the killing of Moore.
Because the statement was unsworn, Bennett was not cross-examined by Chief Deputy District Attorney Mel Harmon. Harmon, in his closing arguments, is expected to argue vigorously for a death penalty for Bennett.
The penalty hearing is expected to conclude on Friday. At that time, the jury will begin deliberating to decide if Bennett is sentenced to life imprisonment or death.