Local Jury Decides On Death Penalty For Convicted Killer

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WACO (April 29, 2014) A 19th District Court jury returned a death sentence Tuesday afternoon for convicted killer Us Carnell Petetan, 38, after four hours of deliberation.

(Photo by John Carroll)

Petetan was convicted of capital murder on April 21 for gunning down Gatesville native Kimberly Farr Petetan, 44, and abducting her daughter after what authorities say was a heated argument on Sept. 23, 2012 at the Landing Apartments, in the 2500 block of East Lake Shore Drive in Waco.

“Today, US Carnell Petetan, Jr. received the justice that was coming to him. It was the choices he made throughout his life and the evil that exists within him that earned him this death sentence,” McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna said.

After the jury returned the sentence, several members of the victim’s family addressed Petetan, among them Kimberly Petetan’s now 11-year-old daughter.

“I don’t think you are dumb,” she said, “you are evil.”

“You did not just take my mom, you took the only person who would give you a second chance,” she said.

In arguing for the death penalty Monday morning, Reyna told jurors "there is not one thing that is mitigating about this man."

"He let Kimberly Petetan lay there as the life drained out of her and he made her little 9-year-old daughter stand there and watch her mother flop like a fish," he said.

"He has no remorse about Kimberly's death," he said.

"He has an evil in his body unlike us; only Satan can comprehend what exists in him."

The defense has tried to establish that Petetan is mentally retarded and ineligible for the death penalty, and attorney Michelle Tuegel reiterated that as she argued for a life sentence.

"You heard from four experts who all agreed he was mentally retarded," she said.

"Carnell Petetan didn't make the choices to be born with mental retardation, he didn't make a choice to be born to a mother who is an enabler or an abusive father," she said, "but it can explain some of the choices he made.

"Life without parole is no slap on the wrist, It is punishment. Our high court says we do not put to death mental retardation," she said.

The courtroom was packed Tuesday morning and the victim's now 11-year-old daughter was among the spectators.