Jury Deliberates on O'Kelley Sentence

Dorian O'Kelley in court.
Dorian O'Kelley in court.

A Chatham County jury has a huge task on its hands. They are deciding whether Dorian O'Kelley will be put to death or put behind bars for the rest of his life.

Last week, they convicted him of brutally murdering Susan Pittman and her daughter Kimberly in 2002. The jury began to deliberate the sentence at about 4:30pm.

Prosecutors and the Pittman family are asking the jury to send a message and sentence O'Kelley to death. O'Kelley's lawyers are asking he jurors for mercy and to spare his life.

"The punishment should fit the crime in this case," prosecutor David Lock told jurors. "And that would be the death penalty."

Prosecutors reminded the jury how O'Kelley beat and stabbed Susan Pittman and slit her throat.

What he did to 13-year-old Kimberly was far worse. He hit her in the head with a baseball bat, threw bricks at her, stabbed her, and tortured her for hours. When she wouldn't die, he set the home on fire.

O'Kelley kept one of her teeth as a souvenir. "As long as the defendant lives, the atrocities committed on Kimberly Pittman will remain in his memory," said Lock.

O'Kelley's lawyers say O'Kelley is responsible for the crimes, but he's not responsible for the life which led him to do this.

"Dorian's actions drug this family into his nightmare," said defense attorney Michael Edwards. "The nightmare of his life."

They say he has severe mental problems and was emotionally and sexually abused as a child.

O'Kelley's brothers also begged the jury to spare his life. O'Kelley smiled and waved at his 18-year-old brother Gilbert Cosson as he took the stand.

"My brother made a mistake," said Cosson. "He's a good man."

"I don't know my father. My brother Dorian is like my father," said a nine-year-old brother the judge asked us not to identify. "Please let him live."

The jury retired for the evening shortly after 6pm. They will reconvene tomorrow morning.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com