NEW HAMPSHIRE ISSUES FIRST DEATH SENTENCE IN 49 YEARS
December 18, 2008: A jury handed down New Hampshire's first death sentence in 49 years to a man who fatally shot a police officer in October 2006.
Michael Addison, 28, was unanimously sentenced to death by 12 jurors for shooting Michael Briggs in the head to avoid arrest in Manchester, New Hampshire.
The judge must impose the sentence and cannot change it.
Attorney General Kelly Ayotte called for the death penalty, telling the jury that life imprisonment, a sentence sought by Addison's lawyers, would have been insufficient.
The jury announced its verdict after about 13 hours of deliberation over four days. Jurors also signed a statement saying that "consideration of the race, color, religious beliefs, natural origin or sex of the defendant or victim" was not involved in the decision.
New Hampshire is predominantly white and Addison is African-American.
The jurors said Addison's criminal record was an aggravating factor and that his difficult childhood did not lessen his guilt. The defense has said it would appeal.
The state's last execution dates back to 1939. In 1959, two men were sentenced to death, but their sentences were commuted in 1972 to life in prison. (Sources: AFP, 18/12/2008)