Tourist Murder Sentencing Hearing Begins - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/13/03

Tourist Murder Sentencing Hearing Begins

A Chatham County jury found him guilty of murder late last night, and now 25-year-old Bernard Green could be facing the death penalty. This morning, the sentencing phase began for Green, who shot and killed Gail Vasilkioti while she was vacationing in Savannah in 1999.

Green faces either death by lethal injection, life without parole, or life with parole. Though the Vasilkioti family won't say if they're for or against the death penalty, they did play a big part in the sentencing hearing. Both children gave victim impact statements.

Her son, Damon, told jurors, "I sit here today and ask jurors to help me, help me seek justice for my mother." Daughter Nicole explained the final days she spent with her mother before she died saying, "All I kept thinking was she had to live. I'm only 24 years old and I need my mother by my side."

The defense also called some 16 witnesses to the stand, each had a positive thing to say about Green. Most said he had a lot of potential and they never thought he'd be capable of such a violent crime. Tomorrow, closing arguments begin in this proceeding.

Reported by: Elizabeth Garcia, egarcia@wtoc.com

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