Judge sentences killer to death in supermarket shootings

LAS VEGAS - The man who killed four people during a supermarket shooting spree last summer will die by lethal injection or natural causes in prison.

That's what District Judge Jeffrey Sobel said Thursday when he followed the jury's recommendation and sentenced Zane Floyd to death on four counts.

Sobel also sentenced Floyd to the maximum penalties, including life in prison, on the remaining six counts that included kidnapping and sexual assault.

Floyd, 24, was sentenced to death in July for walking into a Las Vegas Albertson's grocery store on June 3, 1999, armed with a shotgun. He then began systematically shooting employees, killing four and critically wounding another.

Before the early morning shooting spree, Floyd raped and kidnapped a former outcall entertainer.

When asked by the judge if he had anything to say, Floyd replied ''no.''

District Attorney Stewart Bell said though the additional sentences might seem moot in light of his death sentence, they are necessary in case the death penalty is abolished before Floyd receives the lethal injection.

''It makes it impossible for him (Floyd) to be in free society,'' Bell said after sentencing.

The judge also ordered restitution for Floyd's victims and their families.

''He's not going to be able to pay,'' public defender Curtis Brown said.

But if Floyd does get a job in prison, Brown said he wants to make sure the restitution goes to the victims and their families.

He said others, including Albertson's, have come forward seeking restitution.

''I don't think Albertson's should get it,'' he said.

Earlier this month, Sobel denied Floyd's bid for a new trial.

Brown said he would file an appeal based on issues raised during the penalty phase of the trial that the jury was influenced unfairly.

Death penalty cases receive an automatic appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.

Floyd, who did not put on a defense until the penalty phase, told police he joined the military and committed the murders because he had always wanted to know what it was like to kill someone.

Jurors heard Floyd's confession and watched video from store surveillance cameras of Floyd coolly stalking and shooting some of the workers.

Defense attorneys tried to portray Floyd as an emotionally and mentally troubled man who turned to drugs and alcohol. A psychiatrist who treated Floyd when he was 13 testified that Floyd had a variety of problems, including attention deficit disorder.

They claim Floyd became mentally unhinged the morning of the shootings. But a neuropsychologist testified that Floyd knew what he was doing during the five-minute shooting spree.

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