A Fairfax County man who bludgeoned a woman with a hammer and sexually assaulted her as she lay dying was sentenced to death Thursday.
Circuit Court Judge Jonathan C. Thacher imposed the sentence, which was recommended by a jury during a March hearing.
The jury convicted Mark E. Lawlor, 46, of capital murder in February. Prosecutors said Lawlor, then a leasing agent in a Falls Church area building, used a key to enter the apartment of Genevieve “Gini” Orange as she slept on a couch in September 2008.
He hit her with a hammer nearly 50 times on her head, arms and body, according to an autopsy report, then sexually assaulted her, leaving behind DNA that implicated him.
Attorneys for Lawlor never disputed that he killed Orange. Instead, they argued that he was intoxicated by beer and crack cocaine and therefore wasn’t guilty of capital murder.
Before a packed courtroom Thursday, defense attorney Meghan Shapiro argued that death was an excessive punishment in part because Lawlor has expressed remorse over the murder and has severe psychological problems.
For the first time during the trial, Lawlor, wearing a green jumpsuit and glasses, expressed remorse for killing Orange.
“I hate what I became and what I did,” he said.
But Thacher rejected Lawlor’s final plea, as well as the testimony of over 50 witnesses and other evidence provided by the defense.
After the hearing, Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh, the lead prosecutor on the case, said “justice was done.”
Orange, who was from the Roanoke area, graduated from Virginia Tech in 2001 and was an active member of the McLean Bible Church. Many of her friends, along with family members, attended about five weeks of trial and deliberations.
Lawlor, a New Jersey native with a history of mental health, drug and alcohol problems, was a leasing agent in her building when he killed her.
This item has been updated.