A federal jury in Vermont on Thursday ruled that a man should be put to death for kidnapping and killing a supermarket worker in the state's first capital punishment trial in nearly a half-century.
Jurors reached their decision on Donald Fell, 25, after deliberating over two days.
Fell showed no emotion as a court clerk read aloud the jury's recommendation, but his lawyer then stood and relayed a message from Fell for the jurors.
"He respects your decision," defense lawyer Gene Primomo said. "He appreciates your hard work and wants to tell you and the family of his sincere remorse."
Fell was convicted June 24 of kidnapping Terry King, 53, as she arrived for work at a Rutland, Vt., supermarket in November 2000, taking her into New York state and bludgeoning her to death as she prayed for her life.
Vermont does not have a state death penalty, and the last execution there was in 1954. Because the crime crossed a state line, U.S. prosecutors brought charges under a federal law that allows the death penalty for a carjacking that results in a death.
Fell agreed in 2001 to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of life without parole, but that deal was rejected by then-U.S. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, who insisted on the death penalty.
Under federal law the judge must impose the death sentence if that is what the jury recommends. Federal officials have said the execution would most likely be by lethal injection at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.