Wake jury will consider death penalty for Devega

ablythe@newsobserver.comMay 21, 2014 

DEVEGA04-NE-051214-CCS

Armond Devega, left, sits with some members of his legal team as closing arguments proceed in his capital murder case in a Wake Co. courtroom on May 12, 2014. Devega, a Raleigh man, is accused of killing two people in a string of robberies in 2008.

CHRIS SEWARD — cseward@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

— A Wake County jury is scheduled to begin deliberations Thursday to determine whether Armond Devega, a 32-year-old man convicted this week of first-degree murder and a string of robberies, will get the death penalty.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys finished offering evidence for and against capital punishment on Wednesday.

During the sentencing phase that comes after the verdict in capital cases, the defense team argued that Devega should be sentenced to life in prison without parole instead of being sent to death row. Experts for the defense testified that Devega could have suffered brain damage in his younger years during beatings by his father.

The defense called a consultant to testify that a life sentence in prison with no possibility for parole is harsh punishment. Prisons are dangerous places, the consultant said. Death row inmates have more avenues for appeal, the defense team pointed out, and a life sentence would not bring as many possibilities to have a verdict overturned.

Prosecutors argued that prison life does give an inmate access to TV, books and family visits. A psychologist for prosecutors argued that Devega does have antisocial characteristics, but not a serious mental disorder.

Devega was convicted Monday of one of two murder counts, attempted murder and six of eight robbery charges in a trial that started nearly eight weeks ago.

Devega was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Stephanie Powell Anderson, 39, a clerk at a Wilco-Hess gas station in North Raleigh who was shot to death on April 10, 2008, while opening the store.

The jury acquitted Devega of the Feb. 13, 2008, killing of Anthony Dwayne Scarborough.

Devega’s robbery convictions are in connection with a string of holdups at fast food restaurants and convenience stores.

In Wake County, a jury has not issued a death sentence since 2007.

Two years ago, a Wake County jury found Jason Williford guilty of the first-degree murder in the death of state school board member Kathy Taft, but jurors couldn’t come to a unanimous decision on whether Williford deserved the death penalty.

If a jury cannot unanimously agree in such a situation, the judge imposes a life sentence.

Blythe: 919-836-4948; Twitter: @AnneBlythe1

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