Jurors to weigh death or life imprisonment for child killer
VISTA, Calif. – A defense attorney Tuesday attempted to save the life of convicted killer Brandon Wilson despite the defendant’s lack of remorse for killing a 9-year-old boy and his plea to jurors to give him the death penalty.
Against attorney Curt Owen’s advice, Wilson told jurors Monday at his sentencing hearing that he felt no remorse for slashing Matthew Cecchi’s throat in a beach restroom last year.
”I would do it again in a second if I had the chance,” he said. ”Execute me.”
But Owen asked former teachers and a psychiatrist to tell jurors why Wilson should receive life imprisonment without parole rather than execution.
”Here is somebody who is significantly, seriously mentally ill and most likely needs hospital care and forced medication,” psychiatrist Samuel Benson said.
Wilson is a manic-depressive who suffers from a personality disorder that includes narcissism, schizophrenia and delusional behavior, Benson said.
But when questioned by prosecutor David Rubin, Benson said he did not review transcripts and videotapes of Wilson’s confession to Oceanside police in which he gleefully re-enacted the slaying and admitted knowing it was wrong to kill the boy.
The jury deliberated for about 35 minutes Tuesday afternoon and requested a television and video cassette recorder to review Wilson’s testimony. Deliberations resume Wednesday morning.
The panel will recommend a sentence to Superior Court Judge John Einhorn, who has the final decision. The same jury decided last week that Wilson was sane when he killed the third-grader Nov. 14 in a restroom at Oceanside Pier.
Wilson admitted slashing the boy’s throat and stabbing him in the back while the boy’s aunt waited for him outside the restroom. But Wilson said he was insane at the time, driven by hallucinogenic drugs and voices from God to kill the human race.
No one who testified in his behalf gave jurors any real insight as to why Wilson turned into a killer after leaving his home of St. Croix Falls, Wis., two years ago.
Wilson’s mother has attended the trial but she did not testify Tuesday. She has also declined to talk to reporters.
Wilson testified at the trial that he hated his mother for divorcing his father and starting a relationship with a wrestling coach at his school. He said when he was 16, she was the first person he fantasized killing.
Michael Morris, Wilson’s little league coach and high school math teacher, said Wilson was one of his brightest students, but his grades began to drop in his junior year.
”I knew the family was going through … a bitter, bitter breakup,” Morris said. ”I think that weighed very heavily on Brandon’s mind.”
During closing arguments, Owen told jurors that Wilson’s ”mind did not function” in a way that allowed him to distinguish between right and wrong.
”We reserve death in this society for the worst of the worst, those for whom there is no possibility of redemption. Can you say that of Brandon Wilson? I don’t think you can,” Owen said.
But Rubin said death is a fitting punishment for a person ”like Brandon Wilson who hunts women and children.”
”Think about that slow, agonizing death of a 9-year-old boy,” Rubin said. ”Think about the impact that that death has had on his family.”