Blackwell sentenced to death in 2009 murder case - FOX Carolina 21

Blackwell sentenced to death in 2009 murder case

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Ricky Blackwell (L), convicted of murdering Brooke Center (R), in 2009. (Source: Spartanburg Co. Sheriff's Office) Ricky Blackwell (L), convicted of murdering Brooke Center (R), in 2009. (Source: Spartanburg Co. Sheriff's Office)
Blackwell (center) in court Sunday. (March 16, 2014/FOX Carolina) Blackwell (center) in court Sunday. (March 16, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Blackwell (third from left) awaits closing arguments to begin Sunday. (March 16, 2014/FOX Carolina) Blackwell (third from left) awaits closing arguments to begin Sunday. (March 16, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Prosecutor delivers closing argument Sunday. (March 16, 2014/FOX Carolina) Prosecutor delivers closing argument Sunday. (March 16, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Ricky Blackwell, (L), enters court Wednesday. (March 12, 2014/FOX Carolina) Ricky Blackwell, (L), enters court Wednesday. (March 12, 2014/FOX Carolina)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A Spartanburg County jury has sentenced Ricky Blackwell to death.

A jury asked the judge to apply the death penalty in the convicted child murderer's case on Sunday afternoon. 

The state and the defense presented their closing arguments to the jury in the sentencing phase of the trial earlier in the day.

"He did it to send a message," Solicitor Barry Barnette said of Blackwell, who was Wednesday found guilty of killing 8-year-old girl in Chesnee back in 2009. "He could have easily grabbed Angie, but he grabbed Brooke instead."

The victim, Brooke Center, was the daughter of Blackwell's estranged wife Angie's lover. The prosecution showed that Blackwell shot the girl to get revenge against his estranged wife.

"He [Blackwell] shot an 8-year-old girl in the back," Barnette told the jury. "That's the type of coward he is."

Barnette asked the jury to request the death penalty, telling jurors they should make an example of Blackwell.

"We need to set an example," Barnette said. "That you can't commit premeditated murder on children."

The defense urged jurors to ask that Blackwell be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and to leave Blackwell's death in God's hands.

"The defense talked about letting God take Ricky," Barnette said. "Ladies and gentlemen, God didn't decide to take Brooke. This man [Blackwell] did."

In the counterargument, defense attorney Bill McGuire spoke about Blackwell's usually gentle nature.

"He was a gentle, tender man," McGuire said. "Is he so dangerous that we have to kill him? The answer is no."

"You don't want the burden of killing another man," McGuire told the jury.

Attorneys finished delivering the closing arguments shortly after 12:30 p.m. The jury began deliberating shortly after 3 p.m. before coming to their decision a little more than five hours later.

Blackwell's execution date was set for June 14, 2014, though it will likely be delayed for an extended time as the decision is appealed and case reviewed.

Read more about the trial here.

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