Jurors reached their decision on Donald Fell, 25, after deliberating about 10 hours over two days.
Fell showed no emotion as a court clerk read aloud the jury's recommendation, but his lawyer then stood and said he had a statement from Fell for the jurors.
"He respects your decision. He appreciates your hard work and wants to tell you and the family of his sincere remorse. He did not want to do it at any other time publicly as it would be construed to be less genuine," the lawyer said.
Fell was convicted June 24 of kidnapping Terry King, 53, as she arrived for work at a Rutland supermarket, taking her into New York state and bludgeoning her to death as she prayed for her life.
"It's justice for my sister," Barbara Tuttle said after the verdict. "Everyone got to listen to what he did to her and this is his punishment."
Vermont does not have a state death penalty, and the last execution there was in 1954. But because the crime crossed a state line, U.S. prosecutors brought charges under a federal law that allows the death penalty for a carjacking that results in a death.