Utah teenager Edward Bennett must be executed by lethal injection for the Feb. 9 murder of Las Vegas convenience store clerk Michelle Moore, a Nevada district court jury decided Saturday.
The 19-year-old Lehi man showed no emotion as the death sentence decision was announced. But Moore's mother and a group of the victim's friends cheered the unanimous vote following seven hours of deliberations over two days.Judge Miriam Shearing is scheduled to formally impose the death sentence against Bennett on Oct. 18 and also sentence him on attempted murder and attempted robbery convictions related to the holdup-murder.
The death sentence, however, will be stayed pending an automatic review by the Nevada Supreme Court.
During Bennett's penalty hearing, his father compared the Utah teenager to a rosebud and begged the jury to spare the life of his son.
But, during closing arguments, prosecutor Mel Harmon likened the convicted murderer to poison ivy as he vigorously argued for the death penalty.
Earlier this week, the same jury convicted Bennett of killing Moore, 21, during the attempted robbery of a Stop 'N Go market. Teenage customer Derrick Franklin was wounded when he attempted to flee the store during the holdup.
Moore was a newlywed who had moved to Nevada from Grand Junction, Colo., only two months before her death. She had worked in the store only two weeks before she was shot in the face at close range with a .45-caliber handgun.
The murder trial of co-defendant Joseph Beeson, 18, Orem, is scheduled to begin next month. Bennett and Beeson were arrested about a month after Moore's murder when a "lifelong friend" told police Bennett had confessed the crime.
During Bennett's trial, Jeffrey Chidester testified Bennett and Beeson said they planned to go on a killing spree that would have extended from Salt Lake City to Southern California.