A jury that already rejected an insanity defense and convicted a south Texas man of beheading his common-law wife’s three children will next decide whether he will get the death penalty or spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Attorneys were expected to present closing arguments Thursday in the penalty phase of the trial for John Allen Rubio. After that, jurors will begin deliberations. They will decide between capital punishment and life in prison without parole.
The same jury on Monday found Rubio, 29, guilty on four counts of capital murder — one charge for each child and one for the children together.
Police discovered the bodies of 3-year-old Julissa Quesada, 14-month-old John E. Rubio and 2-month-old Mary Jane Rubio on March 11, 2003, in a Brownsville apartment. Rubio unsuccessfully pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Rubio was originally convicted and sentenced to death for killing the children. But a state appeals court overturned that conviction in 2007 because statements from the children’s mother, Angela Camacho, were wrongly allowed as evidence. Camacho pleaded guilty and is serving a life sentence for her role in the murders.
Rubio said he believed the children were possessed and tried to smother and stab them before ultimately decapitating them.
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This post was last updated: Jul. 29, 2010