ST. FRANCISVILLE - The jury in the third Angola 5 trial voted unanimously Friday to sentence inmate David Brown to death for the 1999 murder of Louisiana State Penitentiary security Capt. David C. Knapps.
The jury deliberated for about 50 minutes after hearing sometimes tearful testimony from relatives of both the victim and Brown.
Judge Jerome M. Winsberg set formal sentencing for Nov. 16 at 10:30 a.m.
Brown, 38, already is serving a life sentence for the 1992 murder of Marrero resident Harvey Reese.
Brown is the third Angola 5 defendant to stand trial in Knapps' slaying, which occurred during an escape attempt from Angola's Camp D Education Building.
Prosecutor Hugo Holland said in his opening statement to the jury Friday that members had seven reasons to give Brown the death penalty, including that Brown is a fourth-offense felon - "a murderer and a thief."
Brown killed a peace officer during the commission of an aggravated kidnapping and during an aggravated escape attempt, Holland said.
Finally, Brown should die because of the pain he caused to the families of his two murder victims, Holland said.
Defense attorney Clay Calhoun asked jurors to consider Brown's turbulent childhood as the son of a mentally ill woman who gave birth to Brown when she was 14 years old after spending time in a juvenile prison.
Carolyn Whitstine, Knapps' sister, testified he was the leader in a family of 11 children, who stepped in to help raise his brothers and sisters when their father died at age 41.
"He was like a dad to me," Whitstine said, breaking into sobs. "He did not deserve the beating he got and the way that he was murdered."
Whitstine, then an employee at the prison, went to Camp D when she learned that inmates had taken hostages. She saw officers lead hostages Reddia Walker and Douglas Chaney out of the Education Building.
"I kept waiting for them to bring my brother out," Whitstine said, adding that her supervisor finally told her, "he didn't make it."
St. Charles Parish Assistant District Attorney Kim McElwee told jurors Brown was released from prison on parole but killed Harvey two days after his early release.
Defense witnesses testified that Brown's mother, Katie Brown, was an unruly, mentally disturbed woman who witnessed her father killing her mother and then became pregnant with David Brown when she was 13.
Katie Brown later had four more children by four husbands and two more children outside of marriage.
Witnesses said his mother shunned and mistreated him on numerous occasions, including putting a shotgun to his head and leaving her children outside in cold weather or without food.
"You cannot imagine walking in his shoes and not being here today," Calhoun said in his closing statement.
Dr. Sarah DeLand, a forensic psychiatrist, testified that Brown suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder because of his childhood experiences, but state expert Dr. Michael Welner disagreed.
Welner also disputed DeLand's assessment that the risk of Brown committing further violence in his current secure setting is low.
"He knows how to navigate his environment," Welner said, adding Brown would try to escape again if given the opportunity.