Friday, July 31, 2009

Myron Britt sentenced to life without parole in murder of wife

After killing his wife, all that was left for a Roberson County, NC jury to decide, according to his lawyer, was how Myron Britt would die in jail - by the hands of the state through lethal injection, or by the hands of God (or another inmate). After 40 minutes of deliberation, the jury chose the latter option yesterday, July 30.

Nancy Britt was murdered at her childhood home in August 2003 while caring for a disabled sister. The murder, according to prosecutors, was a way for Britt to pay off a growing pile of debt by cashing in of his wife's $800,000 insurance policy.

[Robeson County District Attorney]Johnson Britt said Myron Britt killed his wife to maintain a particular lifestyle and keep up appearances.

The jury was told it would have to determine whether the aggravating factor outweighed the 11 mitigating circumstances the defense would present, Johnson Britt said. Aggravating factors favor imposing the death penalty. Mitigating factors favor a life sentence.

"I am not going to stand up here and tell you there is no value of a father-son relationship, that there is no value in a father-daughter relationship or that there is no value in a son-mother relationship,'' Johnson Britt said. "What I am going to tell you is that the 11 pale in comparison for the reason Nancy Britt was murdered.''

Myron Britt's grown children - 22-year-old Lauren and 29-year-old Brandon - told jurors Wednesday they have a strong relationship with their father and still rely on him for advice.

Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks allowed Myron Britt time to address the courtroom after he passed sentence of life without parole. Britt thanked his supporters, but also told the jury he forgave them for "wrongfully convicting" him. He also said that the life without parole sentence was a sentence on his children as well as himself.

Jim Parrish and Sue Berry, Myron Britt's attorneys, stated that the mitigating families justify nothing; they prove that he still has value to his family, friends, and faith community, and that the jury will spare his life if there's still value.

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