A Chatham County jury faced a particularly difficult decision and made it. At 12:30pm this afternoon, they sentenced 24-year-old Dorian O'Kelley to death. Last week, they convicted him of murdering Susan Pittman and her 13-year-old daughter Kimberly.
Everyone we've talked with says this trial has been one of the most graphic and emotional. Listening to the brutality of the murders, and then waiting to hear if a man will live or die, isn't easy. Among the many emotions, sadness and relief that's it over.
There was nervous tension in the air as O'Kelley learned he is going to die by lethal injection. The Pittmans' family gasped a sigh of relief and burst into tears. O'Kelley stood steadfast.
It's been 3 1/2 since O'Kelley killed the Pittmans.
"We the jury fix the sentence for the murder of Susan Pittman at death," the sentence was read. "We the jury fix the sentence for the murder of Kimberly Pittman at death. So say we all this eighth day of November, 2005."
The jury sentenced O'Kelley to death because they felt the murders were outrageously vile, horrible, inhumane and involved torture. That meets the death penalty standard in Georgia.
O'Kelley even confessed that he beat and stabbed Susan Pittman to death. Then he tortured and stabbed Kimberly. While Kimberly was still alive, he set their home on fire. She died of smoke inhalation.
Before the jury started deliberating yesterday afternoon, prosecutor David Lock told them as long as O'Kelley is alive, he will keep reliving the murders. They say the murders and the fire excited him, and they say evidence of that was an interview he gave WTOC at the scene of the crime, before police considered him a suspect.
"I was afraid, since I live across the street that the fire was going to move over, I was terrified," O'Kelley told us in that 2002 interview. They say proof is in the smile he showed on camera.
No one was smiling today.
Judge James Bass gave the execution order: "I hereby order you be taken from this courtroom to a place specified by the department of corrections and there by be put to death by lethal injection."
Deputies took O'Kelley back to the Chatham County jail. It could be a few weeks until he is transferred to a Georgia state prison.
There is another person who will stand trial for the murders of Susan and Kimberly Pittman. Daryll Stinski is also facing the death penalty. His trial date has not yet been set.
The Pittmans' family did not wish to be interviewed, but as they left the courtroom one of them said nothing can bring Susan and Kimberly back.