Jennifer Phillips reporting
ANDERSON, S.C.A three week long murder trial ended with a jury sentencing Raymondeze Rivera to death Thursday.
When the judge read the verdict members of the jury cried. Rivera dropped his head and also had tears in his eyes. Rivera strangled Burns back in December 2006 and during the murder trial, witnesses for the defense told the jury Rivera was mentally and physically abused by his father and abandoned by his mother. Earlier in the day, before the sentence, Rivera told the jury that's what turned him into a cold, calculated killer.
"I have to sit with it everyday what I've done, the sins that I have done. So, I ask you to do the right thing for them," Rivera said as he pointed to the Burns' family.
"I couldn't look you in the face and ask you for mercy, I don't deserve mercy. I didn't give mercy to Asha Wiley and Kwana Burns not one time, I made them suffer," he said.
After the judge read the verdict, Kwana Burns' pastor and father read letters about how much they miss her. They also read one written by her son, Cameron who found his mother dead in their Anderson home. Rivera then addressed the court and told them he accepted the verdict and never really knew how much he hurt them.
"Nothing that anyone can do can bring Kwana back, but justice had to be served and it was. When he turned around and talked to us and mentioned my grandson, then maybe there is some remorse, maybe he does have a heart," said Kenny Caldwell, Burns' father.
Burns' mother, Jeano Caldwell said she's really gone through a lot since her daughter's death.
"I'm glad it's over, justice was served and now I can rest, I can let her rest," she said.
Rivera's lawyer, John Delgado, said this should have never been a death penalty case.
"This solicitor's office should have never brought this case, it will be reversed. This matter will have to be retried again and that poor family will have to go through what they've gone through for three weeks," Delgado said. He said his belief is based on a legal issue, but wouldn't go into detail.
However, Chrissy Adams, 10th Circuit Solicitor said she is confidant in the case and the verdict.
"It's been a long time for the family and I just hope they can get the closure that they need to hopefully move on. It's been a very long and hard process," Adams said.
Rivera is scheduled to either die by lethal injection or the electric chair.
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