SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A Caddo Parish jury has recommended the death penalty for Eric Dale Mickelson for the murder of Charles Martin.
Jurors deliberated approximately one hour before returning the verdict. They also had the option of sentencing Mickelson to life in prison.
The same Caddo Parish jury that convicted him on Wednesday of killing and dismembering 86-year old Charles Martin in 2007 decided his sentence.
Closing arguments in the penalty phase of the capital murder trial wrapped up around 4:30 Friday afternoon. After receiving instructions from Caddo District Judge Scott Creighton, the case was sent to the jury to deliberate.
Prosecutors called the convicted killer and his actions "evil," while his defense team asked for the jury's mercy and grace, insisting Mickleson is not evil, but mentally ill.
In the two days of testimony since Mickelson's conviction, jurors have heard from members of the victim's family, as the prosecution made their case for death. Members of Mickelson's family also took the stand in the defense's effort to convince the jury Mickelson should spend the rest of his life in prison.
Jurors also heard hours of recordings made by detectives of Mickelson detailing his crimes and confessing to the murder of Kristi O'Pry in 1996.
The family of Charles Martin released a statement thanking the Jurors, law enforcement and District attorneys involved in the case.
"These last four years have been difficult for our entire family. We are so very grateful for the support from the District Attorney's office and the Victim Assistance office. They have put in many hours helping our family. They have been kind, compassionate, and attentive to our needs. We are thankful for the detectives, police officers, and all law enforcement who have worked so diligently. The work everyone did was exceptional. We appreciate all they have done to seek justice in the case.
Our family extends our heartfelt thank you's to each juror who served on this case. We know it was very difficult.
We thank God for the many family and friends who have lifted us up in prayer through all of this. His grace is what has carried us through.
We believe that God is the author and finisher of our faith and that His will has been done.
All family of Charles Martin, Our 'Peaceful Warrior'"
After the verdict was read Kristi O'Pry's daughter said, "I think Eric Mickelson got what he justly deserved, and I'm glad court went as it did. We couldn't have asked for anything more."