Jurors agreed that Paul Devoe should not be sentenced to life in prison because he would continue to present a threat to society even from behind bars. The same jury convicted Devoe on Friday of capital murder for the 2007 deaths of 15-year-old Haylie Faulkner and 17-year-old Danielle Hensley. He also is accused of murdering four other people.
Devoe watched quietly, but did not react, as the judge read the verdict, reached after 3 1/2 hours of deliberation. The same jury reached a guilty verdict last week in less than 20 minutes.
Robert Faulkner, Haylie's grandfather, was among family members allowed to address Devoe after sentencing in Travis County.
"The day you are executed we will be there to see justice done for our children and we fill find peace in the fact that you will never hurt anyone again," he said. "May the state of Texas show no mercy on you and may you burn in hell."
Prosecutors argued for the death penalty all along, saying Devoe's violent nature shows he would be a danger to prison employees and other inmates.
"The evidence is overwhelming; he has a lifetime of hurting people, threatening them," prosecutor Dayna Blazey said during closing arguments.
Devoe's defense attorneys argued that Devoe does not have a history of disciplinary problems while incarcerated. He has a lengthy criminal record and has spent his adult life in and out of jail.
"He's going to answer to God for what he did, for the crimes he did," defense attorney Tom Weber said, adding that the issue always was whether Devoe deserved to die.
The burden was on the state to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt that he will commit acts of violence ... that's their burden that they have to do that," Weber told the jury. "I would submit to you that they failed to do that."
Devoe is also accused of fatally shooting 41-year-old Michael Allred at a bar where he worked in Marble Falls. Prosecutors say he then drove to the home of ex-girlfriend Paula Griffith in Jonestown and shot her, her 48-year-old boyfriend, Jay Feltner, her daughter, Haylie Faulkner and Danielle Hensley, a 17-year-old friend of Haylie's.
Danielle's mother, Christina Gribble, broke down as she spoke to Devoe.
"May you never forget. I hope they haunt you. I hope they haunt you," Gribble said as Devoe looked on, appearing emotionless. Members of Devoe's family, including his sister and an aunt, left the courtroom before the girls' families were allowed to address him.
Prosecutors say after the killings, Devoe fled Texas for Long Island, N.Y., where he grew up and where his mother lived. They say he had car trouble near State Line, Pa., then shot and killed 81-year-old widow Betty Jane Dehart and stole her car.
Prosecutors can still seek trials for the other four deaths.
Danielle's mother and stepfather wept as prosecutor Gary Cobb showed photos of each victim before their deaths, followed by photos from the crime scene. Devoe's family also wept as lawyers recounted his childhood and violent past.