Man found guilty of murdering his brother

Christopher Horton

By Preston Gill

A six-man, six-woman jury found Christopher Horton guilty of first-degree murder in the stabbing and robbery of his brother, Adam Horton, on Sept. 2, 2007, in Bayou Vista.
Anthony Saleme, assistant district attorney prosecuting the case, told jurors in closing that “this case has lingered for seven years. It is time that justice is done.”
Horton was accused of stabbing his brother to death in a robbery that yielded about $1,000.
After two-and-a-half days of testimony the jury took about 45 minutes to reach its verdict.
The jury had sent two questions to 16th Judicial District Judge Paul deMay about 30 minutes into its deliberation. It asked if IQ level could be considered in determining the verdict and what sentence could be imposed for a verdict of manslaughter.
deMay answered ‘No” to the first question and said, “It is your job to determine guilt or innocence. It is my job to determine the sentence.”
He explained the maximum sentence for manslaughter would be 40 years at hard labor.
About 15 minutes later the jury reached its verdict. At least 10 guilty votes were necessary for a conviction.
Evidence of Horton’s IQ had not been presented during the trial, but his father, Clark Horton, testified Horton was “slow” and had gone to special education classes in school and could not read or write.
Prior evaluations, not presented at trial, classified Horton as mildly retarded with an IQ of 64 or 68 on separate psychological evaluations. As such, he cannot be sentenced to death since the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that to be unconstitutional.
Saleme said that the jury questions had given him cause for concern.
Robert Fuhrer, Horton’s attorney, said he wanted to put his clients mental capacity into the trial record but was unable to do so because it was inadmissible.
As Clark Horton waited for the jury to return the verdict he expressed his pain of having lost one son in death and having his remaining son’s life hanging in the balance.
Official sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 27 but the law calls for a life sentence.
deMay sealed the jurors’ individual votes.
The trial began Monday.

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