The South Dakota trial of a 44-year-old man who claimed to have killed a woman as part of a larger plot to assassinate Barack Obama ended this week with the imposition of his sentence.
After pleading guilty to the charge he fatally stabbed a 75-year-old woman in 2011, James McVay presented the argument that he is mentally ill. Nevertheless, a jury unanimously voted this week to sentence him to death for the crime.
Circuit Judge Peter Lieberman upheld the decision during formal sentencing.
“I don’t have a lot to say here,” the judge said following the trial. “This is a situation where a jury’s verdict has a lot more weight than what I could say.”
During the trial, McVay’s account of the crime included his assertion that he murdered Maybelle Schein to steal her car and drive to Washington, D.C. to kill Obama. Authorities reportedly caught up with him in Madison, Wis. and took him into custody.
McVay’s lawyer, Traci Smith, urged Lieberman to withdraw the sentence in a last-minute appeal. The public defender argued that comments made during the prosecution’s closing arguments “inflamed the passions” of jury members. Lieberman, however, decided against the motion, asserting the decision was made after careful consideration of the facts presented during trial.
Nevertheless, the sentence is now set to go before the state Supreme Court for consideration. According to ABC News, the purpose of the review will be to determine three key aspects of McVay’s sentence.
“They include whether the sentence was affected by passion, prejudice, or any other arbitrary factor; whether the evidence supports the finding of a judge or jury of a statutory aggravating circumstance, and whether the sentence of death is out of line with the penalty imposed in other, similar cases.”
Update: This story originally incorrectly stated the trial happened in North Dakota. The trial was in South Dakota.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom