BONIFAY, FL 3/1/2012 -- The penalty phase in the trial of convicted murderer Johnny Sketo Calhoun began Wednesday morning. It was the defense's last chance to save Calhoun from the ultimate punishment.
"I'm asking you to consider the full life of the man," Defense Attorney Kimberly Dowgul told the jury.
Several witnesses took the stand testifying to the positive influence Calhoun has had on them both in jail and at home. But the testimony and tears were not enough to sway the jury.
"Death row is reserved for the worst of the worst, and on that night, Johnny Mack Calhoun qualified for position there," said State Attorney Glen Hess.
Jurors took just an hour and a half to come to their recommendation. Calhoun showed emotion for the first time Wednesday, appearing to wipe away tears during testimony, then looking surprised as the clerk read the recommendation.
"I feel like it's been a good day, not only for our family but as a community," said Mia Brown's sister Megan Kriser.
Kriser and her brother Chuck Riddle, who were back in court Wednesday, said the death penalty recommendation will help their family move forward, but they said they'll never forget.
"It does bring a little closure and now we can just concentrate on Mia and the memory of Mia," said Riddle.
"One of the last conversations her and I had, she was teaching me how even good people do bad things," said Kriser.
Calhoun's fate is now in the hands of Circuit Judge Christopher Patterson. He'll order a pre-sentencing investigation before deciding if he'll follow the jury's death penalty recommendation. He did not set a sentencing date Wednesday.
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