Jury: Give Vet Tech Killer Death Penalty
Updated On: Apr 30 2010 06:33:01 AM EDT
It took just 20 minutes Friday afternoon for nine of 12 jurors to recommended death for a Clay County man convicted of killing a veterinary tech in January 2007.
In February, the jury found Michael Jackson guilty of raping and murdering Andrea Boyer as she arrived at work at a Wells Road animal clinic in Orange Park.
Before closing arguments Friday, Jackson took the stand, denying he killed Boyer.
"I may be a lot of different things, but I am no killer," Jackson said. "I am gratefully sorry to the family and friends of Miss Boyer who have lost someone they dearly love and dearly miss."
"I am not a killer and cannot hold myself accountable for something I did not do."
Boyer's father, Tom Cochlin, was emotional as he testified at the sentencing hearing.
"She was my daughter. She was my 'daddy's little girl,'" he said. "She was the best friend for her mother and me, but most of all, she was my funny -- she was the smile on my face every time she was around. I feel so very lucky she was my daughter."
Boyer's husband, Chad Boyer, also told the jury how he felt and how his life changed when his wife was killed.
"People tell me all the time, 'Things will get better. You will get over it,'" he said. "How are you suppose to get over something so harsh? You can't. You don't. You learn to live with it. Some things do get better, but the memory will always be with you of what happened that day."
Prosecutors showed disturbing photographs of Boyer's body after she was beaten to death, asking the same jury that convicted Jackson to recommend death for him.
DNA evidence was presented during the trial that indicated Jackson had sex with Boyer before she was strangled and beaten with a fire extinguisher.
Jackson claimed that he had provided her drugs in exchange for sex, but under cross-examination, he admitted that most of what he told police when he was first arrested was lies.
"It's just appalling that he does not even have the guts to admit," said Amber Cochlin, Boyer's sister. "He is apologizing for (a rape) he did 25 years ago. That's fine and dandy. What about my sister. He still can't admit it. So he deserves to die for what he has done."
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