Marine sentenced to life for double murder

May 27, 2004 at 10:13 AM
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TAMPA, Fla., May 27 (UPI) -- A Marine stationed at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base has been sentenced to two life terms for the murder of his girlfriend and her child.

The same jury that convicted Sgt. James Coleman III of the two murders voted Wednesday to spare him of the death penalty, the Tampa Tribune reported Thursday.

Judge J. Rogers Padgett immediately sentenced Coleman to two life terms with no parole.

Coleman, 25, was convicted Monday for strangling Jessica Hine and suffocating her 2 1/2-month old son, Devonte Coleman.

The jury issued the sentence after about an hour of deliberation.

"We walked into the jury room and took a straw poll to see how everybody stood," juror John Beck said. "There were already seven votes for life in prison. There was only one for the death penalty."

He said the jury ultimately voted 8-4 for the life sentence, and he was on the dissenting side.

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