Mecklenburg Jury Recommends Life Sentence for Father in Toddler’s Beating Death

From The Charlotte Observer By Gary L. Wright, March 19, 2013

A Mecklenburg judge on Tuesday sentenced Andre Hampton to life in prison without parole for beating his 23-month-old son to death in November 2008.

Andre Hampton

Hampton was convicted two weeks ago of first-degree murder in the death of Ellijah Burger.

The jury deliberated 16 hours over four days before recommending that Hampton, 27, spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Hampton confessed during a videotaped interview to beating Ellijah with a toothbrush, a hairbrush and a belt. His son wouldn’t eat his soup, he told the detective.

Hampton told jurors he loved his son and didn’t intend to kill him.

The jurors weighed one aggravating circumstance and 28 mitigating circumstances in deciding whether Hampton should be executed or spend the rest of his life in prison.

The aggravating circumstance: that the killing of Ellijah was “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel.”

Among the mitigating circumstances:

Ellijah’s killing was committed while Hampton was under the influence of a mental or emotional disturbance.

Hampton was physically abused while growing up when he was beaten by his mother and the men in her life.

Hampton had financial, transportation, housing and childcare problems during the months leading up to Ellijah’s murder.

Hampton had a positive employment history at Food Lion and Walmart.

The jurors had to decide whether the mitigating circumstances were insufficient to outweigh the aggravating circumstance, and if so, whether the aggravating circumstance was “sufficiently substantial” to call for the imposition of the death penalty.

Assistant District Attorney Bill Stetzer had urged jurors during his closing arguments to put Hampton on death row.

The prosecutor told jurors that Ellijah had suffered a “slow, agonizing death.” He said Hampton must pay for what he did.

“If he’s old enough to have children to murder, he’s old enough to face the consequences for what he has done,” the prosecutor said. “What happened was not inappropriate discipline. This was child abuse. It was torture. It was murder.”

Defense lawyer Norman Butler asked jurors to spare Hampton’s life.

“Is his life not worth something?” Butler asked. “I’m pleading for you not to kill Andre Hampton.

“Today you have an opportunity to save a life. … What good is killing him?”

 

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Published in: on March 19, 2013 at 2:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

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