Ladies and gentlemen, we've been here a long time and I know that you all have gone back and you've made your decision. I don't necessarily agree with that, but I certainly respect your decision and I respect the time that you all took to go back and to take all the evidence that you had before you and make that decision. We ask that you just give a little more time here to make this very, very important decision, that you not do anything hastily here, but that you take the time to consider this and to ponder this extra decision in your heart before making your final decision.
Now, I know each of you just did everything you could to take everything into consideration, you've been back there before and again we ask that you do that here. That you take everything into consideration, everything that you've heard, and make those decisions. The instructions are very important. Very important. The judge read them to you, but just by reading, you all can take these back there and look at them and read them and see that there are certain things on here that you can do. That the State does have a burden, and their burden is that proof beyond a reasonable doubt that we all talked about, that's on the mitigating, but then, or on the aggravating circumstances. But also, if you get to the mitigating circumstances, that, there does not have to be proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That's not the standard here. And we would ask that you, you look at those, and look at these jury forms and see the check marks that you can make. See the check marks that you may find and read the instructions and follow them as you said that you would follow the law.
Let's look at, briefly, at some of these circumstances.
One of them is youth of the defendant. We told you all about that, um, back in voir dire, that that was one of the mitigating circumstances. Probably most of you remember that. Keep that in mind as you go back there. Remember when you sat across the table from Mr. Echols? You sat across the table from Damien and you saw him? You remember his youthfulness? I mean, you're a long ways away now, but do you remember that youthfulness? We introduced into evidence something showing when his birthday is. Think about that. Think about his youthfulness. Think about the fact that, well, I know in my youth, I'm not the same person now that I was when I was nineteen years old. I've made some changes. Can people not change? Is this a life that's not worth redeeming? Do people get to that point where a life isn't worth saving? Think about the life that he has ahead of him. That life is in you all's hands. Think about his youthfulness, that's one of the factors here.
Another factor is prior criminal history. There's a check, there's a place, you can make a check mark on prior criminal history. And as you go back there, you will find that there is none. No prior criminal history. Nothing. No evidence. Nothing. So remember that when you make your deliberations.
Now, another one is extreme mental or emotional disturbance. That very painful stuff we put on today. We didn't have to put that on. But we put it on to try to explain to you all what's going on. What this kid's been through. To try to show you what his life is like and to try to show you the things that he's been through and the thing -- a little bit about his makeup. Think about that when you get to this part and talk about that between yourselves. Everybody laughed at me when I said, in opening arguments, I said "He's, he's weird." I wasn't trying to cover that up. People laughed at me for saying that. He's different. That's the reason we put that on, for you to be able to see this. And to see whether or not this life can't be changed, think about that. The doctor did testify that, that he felt like there could be some change. You all heard that.
Another one is kind of related, it's impaired mental disease or defect. And that pretty well goes in with Dr. Moneypenny and you all can discuss that and figure out what you think about that and how that interplays. But like, again, don't rush through this, think about this. There's another place for a check mark on that.
Then there is a check mark on, uh, the, um, accomplice situation. Mr. Ford has gotten up here -- he did this on closing, too -- and he's gotten up here and said somehow that Jason was under the domination of Damien or whatever. There's been absolutely no testimony to that and I think you all understand that and realize that, that there hasn't been any testimony to that effect. That's his argument and uh, the prosecutor may have even said anything, but that's not his argument. I realize from your decision, of course, that you all believe that Damien was involved in these murders. That's your decision. But even if you believe that, there's absolutely no testimony as to who did what to whom, or anything. There is no testimony as to who was the most involved or the least involved, so when you think about this, Damien could be just as much an accomplice as anyone else. I mean, think about that. Think about the test -- you all have heard the testimony. Think about what you've heard.
There's a big place down here for 'other.' And there's several different lines here. I encourage you to think of the testimony, to think what you've heard, not only here today, but the other testimony. And, and think of these mitigating circumstances. And I encourage you to write them in here. That's what the instruction says, to specify in writing. If you need other paper, just put it on another piece of paper. There's just a few lines here, but put it on another piece of paper, that's perfectly fine. And put those down there, the things that you find, and write those things down. And we encourage you again to take your time in doing this.
Now, (PAUSE) when you get to the other section, I know listen, this is a difficult thing to talk about but, we understand this was a horrible, horrible, horrible thing that happened. I mean, nobody could say anything different that's heard this. It's a horrible thing that these kids were murdered. You all looked at that stuff, you looked at the pictures. It was horrible, there's no doubt about that. But at the same time, remember the effect that, that it has on, on the defendants also. Remember the effect that it has on Damien. His father got up there and probably said something that's more difficult than anything he's ever said in his life. And you all heard that. It's having an effect on them also. I suggest to you that that's a mitigating circumstance. Think of the love that others have for, for Damien. Think of the love that he has for others, his son, his newborn son, that he just held for the first time in the backroom the other day. Don't forget these things.
Think about the efforts that he's made to overcome these problems. He didn't get up there and try to hide anything. When he got up there he told you that he'd been on medication. He told you that he'd been to the doctor, um, to get medication. He told you that he, he made efforts to, to help himself. He's made efforts. He knows he needs help. He goes to the doctor. He takes his medication. Consider though, consider the fact that, that he's trying to help himself.
I think you can also take into consideration any lingering doubt that you may have about your previous decision. I understand and respect that decision, but the decision you're making here today, it's a final decision. Is someone gonna get up five years from now and say what they told us wasn't right? If we put him to death, no matter what happens, at that point, it's too late. I'm sure you've probably all heard of people that have been put to death and then later they have determined that they didn't do this. If you make that decision here today, if you have any lingering doubt, think of this other box here. If you have anything at all, that you're just not absolutely sure, think of this other one. Because if we don't, today, this is your decision. This is the time, the time for the decision.
Now, in your decision, you have decided that Damien is guilty of these three counts. And you may say to yourself yes, that's what I've decided and yes, he needs to be punished. Well if that's your decision, that is correct, punishment is correct. But think of this. Is it not punishment to be in prison for life in a cell the size of a bathroom or something like that? Is that not punishment? Is that not punishment? Think of -- sure, you had the right to expect justice, and that's what you all have done. And you had the right to expect some sort of punishment and that's what you're to consider, what the punishment is. And you had the right to expect protection of our society. That's certainly true. And you were charged as jurors to follow the law. Each one of those factors can be taken care of by life imprisonment. In that justice can be done, punishment can be afforded, protection of society, and you would follow the law. Don't let anybody tell you that you've got to find for the death penalty. This is your decision, it's not a 'have to' decision. It's your decision here today.
(PAUSE) I wasn't gonna do this, but I think I am. I'm gonna tell you a little story, real quick here. It's a story where (VOICE STARTS TO BREAK) -- excuse me. (PAUSE) I didn't want to do this, I'm sorry. (APPARENTLY CRYING) Okay. This is in John, Chapter 8. It's a story of death penalty. There's a death penalty case in the Bible here. And thinking about this and it says:
Jesus went under the Mount of Olives and early in the morning he came again into the temple and the people came unto him and he sat down and he taught them. And the Scribes and the Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery. And then, they who had set her in the midst, and they said unto him, "Master, this woman was taken into adultery, in the very act."
Let me tell you what the scene was. They were trying to get Jesus to, to come in there, and they were trying to trip him up. They were trying to show him things that, and trying to trip him up -- because they knew that it was the law, it was the law, boy, if she did something, they didn't have a choice. This was the law with them. And that, if they caught her in adultery, she had to be put to death. But they knew he'd been teaching grace. And so, they said, oh we'll have him tripped up, what's he gonna do here? They were trying to trip up Jesus is what was going on. So then, she was caught in the very act. So then they bring her in there, and they say, "What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do with her?" He just kinda took a stick and it says he took that stick and he just kinda played in the ground there with it and they were trying to attempt, uh, to tempt him and listen to what it, what it said here.
Jesus stooped down and with his finger he wrote in the ground as though he heard them not. And they were wanting him to make that decision, and he finally said, "Okay. You without any sin among you, pick up that stone. And go take care of her. You go ahead and do it." And boy, they looked at him and he's still just kinda playing in the dirt there. And it says that they were each convicted of their own conscience. And they threw that stone down and walked away. They were convicted of their own conscience. And they put it down and they threw it away. Now it doesn't say what happened after this, but I wonder, can you imagine those people going home and people saying, "Well, what happened? Did you put 'em to death?" "Well, no, that didn't happen." "Well, she was caught in the act, wasn't she?" "Well, yeah, she was." "You mean you didn't put 'em to death? Isn't that the law?" Can you imagine the pressure that they received?
I feel for y'all, y'all are going through that same pressure, I know. But as you go back in that jury room, each one of you has that stone in your hand, and you can take it and lay it down, you've got a choice. It's not mandatory. You all can go back there, if I can find my instructions, and you can look at these. You can check those off. You can consider the evidence. And I plead with you and beg with you to keep his life. To give him life imprisonment as his punishment.