Life or death: Jury to decide murderer's fate

Life or death: Jury to decide murderer's fate »Play Video
Angela McAnulty in court Jan. 20, 2011.

EUGENE, Ore. - Angela McAnulty pleaded guilty to murdering her teenage daughter Jeanette Maples on the first day of her criminal trial.

Now a jury must decide: should McAnulty spend her life in prison - or face a death sentence for her crime.

Lane County prosecutors want the death penalty. The district attorney's office rested its case this week.

McAnulty's defense team want a life sentence. They take their argument to the jury next week.

So how will the jury decide how to punish McAnulty?

  • First, did McAnulty deliberately kill Jeanette Maples?
  • Second, is it likely that McAnulty will re-offend? Meaning, will she be a danger to society?
  • Third, did McAnulty kill her daughter without being provoked by her daughter?

These first three questions must be answered beyond a reasonable doubt.

If the jury unanimously answers yes to all three questions, they will then have to answer a fourth:

  • Should McAnulty be sentenced to death?

If jurors answer no to any of the first three questions, they cannot sentence her to death. She will get life in prison instead.

Then the jury must decide: should she have the possibility of parole after 30 years?

To make that decision, the jury must take into account factors from McAnulty's life and answer another question:

  • Are there mitigating circumstances?

In other words, should McAnulty's punishment be less severe because of troubles in her own life, or mental health issues.

Ten jurors must answer yes. If they do, she will still be sentenced to life, but she'll eventually get a chance to ask the parole board to release her from prison.

If the jury finds there aren't mitigating circumstances, then mcanulty will be sentenced to prison for the rest of her life with no chance of parole.