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UPDATE: The jury has recommended two counts of life in prison without parole for Stephen Marc Stone, the Huntsville man convicted of murdering his wife and son.
For both counts, three jurors recommended the death penalty and nine recommended life in prison without parole. The judge has the final decision, and the hearing will be set for a later date.
Krista and Zachary Stone
Krista and Zachary Stone
The murder convictions came Tuesday.
The jury heard from both the prosecution and defense Wednesday during sentencing proceedings.
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Convicted Huntsville murderer Stephen Marc Stone should learn today whether or not he will receive the death penalty for killing his wife and son.
A jury found Stone guilty of the murders on Tuesday. Today, they are hearing testimony from the prosecution and defense before they decide on sentencing. If he doesn't receive the death penalty, he will receive life in prison without parole.
Stone killed his wife and son, 32-year-old Krista Stone and 7-year-old Zachary Stone, inside their south Huntsville home on Feb. 24, 2013. Read Krista Stone's blog, called Stone by Stone, here
Authorities say Stone strangled the victims. The trial was pushed back several times for mental evaluations of Stone. He was found competent to stand trial but pursued an insanity defense.
The jury started deliberating about 12:30 p.m. Their sentence will be taken as a recommendation, and Judge Donna Pate will have the final say. In 2017, Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill ending the state's practice of allowing a judge to sentence a person to death when a jury recommended life imprisonment. However, because the bill was signed after the murders happened in 2013, the judge has said she has the final say in the sentence.
Tim Gann, the chief trial attorney for the Madison County District Attorney's Office, told jurors Wednesday they are deciding good versus evil, and that he hopes they are tired of hearing excuses for evil behavior.
Gann, who is arguing for the death penalty, said Stone showed no remorse or guilt for his murders. He said Stone had a sense of pride for what he did.
Stone’s feelings were that he was free, Gann said.
Licensed psychologist Dr. Carol Walker, testifying for the defense, said she interviewed Stone for 20 hours.
She said he grew up in a close family of devout Christians and that he showed remorse and guilt for the murders every time she talked to him.
Michael Farmer, a friend of Marc and Krista Stone, said he has known Marc Stone for years.
He described Stone as easygoing, calm and quiet.
Farmer said Zach Stone was a boy with a lot of questions about the world.