A Fairfax Circuit Court jury recommended yesterday that Charles D. Stewart, 21, of Clinton be executed for the murder-for-hire killing of a gas station operator last Jan. 31.
It was the second death sentence recommended in the slaying of George H. Scarborough, 45, who was shot to death as he entered his home at 6541 Yadkin Ct., Franconia. James T. Clark Jr., 21, an escapee from the Maryland House of Correction, was convicted in the case Aug. 29.
Stewart is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 6 and Clark Oct. 27. The sentencing judges have the power to reduce the penalty from death in Virginia's electric chair to life imprisonment.
Three persons have already been sentenced to die under Virginia's new capital murder law. The state has executed no one since March 2, 1962.
The jury deliberated less than an hour yesterday before returning its death sentence verdict against Stewart.
Stewart and Clark were hired for $7,000 by Scarborough's estranged wife Jamie to kill Scarborough, according to police. Jamie Scarborough, 44, and Betty M. Holler, 37, who has testified in court she was the go-between in the scheme, are awaiting trial on murder charges.
During Stewart's two-day trial, Det. Guy Boggess testified that Stewart had confessed to him about the participation in the murder-for-hire scheme.
Stewart and Clark broke into Scarborough's house on Jan. 13 and waited for him to come home, according to Stewart's statement, which was read into evidence.
The statement said the plan was for Stewart to knock Scarborough out with chloroform and slit his throat.
When Scarborough walked into his house, Stewart said in his statement, ". . . I was just standing there and I didn't know what to do. I didn't know whether to run out the door or do what we were supposed to do . . . (I) said that I was scared, I really didn't want to do it."
Stewart was unable to overpower Scarborough and knock him out with the chloroform, so Clark shot him five times, according to the statement.
Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. said Stewart was a willing participant in the murder-for-hire plot. He told the jury that it was Stewart who called a contact after the slaying to report, "the beast is deceased." He said Stewart also went with Clark three weeks later to pick up $5,800, the balance due for the murder. The two men had been given a $1,200 "down payment" before the killing, the prosecutor said.
Under Virginia's capital punishement law, the jury had to determine that the crime was "wilful, deliberate, premeditated and for hire" and that Stewart's actions were "outrageously or want only vile, horrible or depraved mind" in order to call for the death penalty.