The same jury that convicted Steven Ray James of first-degree murder on Friday heard testimony Monday regarding James' prior criminal record as the trial moved into its second phase.
Prosecutors told jurors James had pleaded guilty in 1973 to a reduced aggravating kidnapping charge in connection with the abduction of a woman at gunpoint. James served nearly a year in a California prison for that conviction.The jury must decide if the kidnapping incident involves threat of violence sufficient to qualify as an aggravating element to the recent Utah murder conviction. If the jury concludes the kidnapping did involve violence, James will face a life sentence for the murder of his 3-month-old son, Steven Roy James. If the jury is not convinced, James could receive a lesser sentence of five years to life.
During the seven-day trial in Salt Lake's 3rd District Court, prosecutors showed that James killed his son because he was jealous of the attention his girlfriend paid the child.
James, still denying guilt, maintains the baby was kidnapped by drug dealers. Defense attorneys intend to appeal the murder conviction.