The jury decided against the death penalty for a man convicted of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and two of her children and cutting his nearly full-term son from her womb.

The same panel that convicted Levern Ward, 26, deliberated more than three hours Monday before recommending life in prison.

Before deliberations began, Ward took the witness stand Monday to deny taking part in the crimes. His attorney, Earl Washington, appealed to the jurors to "vote for life."