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WTOC This Year: Dorian O'Kelley Trial

Published: Dec. 21, 2005 at 11:33 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 30, 2007 at 4:52 PM EST
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O'Kelley is seen smiling in an interview with WTOC before he became a suspect in the murders...
O'Kelley is seen smiling in an interview with WTOC before he became a suspect in the murders and fire.

Dorian O'Kelley, 24, is now on death row at a state prison in Jackson, Georgia. Two years ago, he beat and stabbed Susan Pittman to death. He also stabbed and tortured her 13-year-old daughter, Kimberly.

"There is evidence he swung the baseball bat and hit her as hard as he could," said prosecutor Greg McConnell during the trial.

While Kimberly was still alive, he set their Whitfield Avenue home on fire.

This past November, a jury decided to make his punishment fit his crime. The court clerk read the verdict: "We the jury fix the sentence for the murder of Susan Pittman at death."

The Pittmans' family gasped a sigh of relief and burst into tears. O'Kelley stood steadfast.

"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 clerk read.

Prosecutor David Lock told the jury as long as O'Kelley was alive, he would keep reliving the murders. He said the murders and the fire excited him, and they say evidence of that was in an interview he gave WTOC at the scene of the crime, before he was a suspect in the murders and fire. "I was afraid, since I live across the street that the fire was going to move over," he told us during the interview. "I was terrified."

They say proof is in his smile, visible in the interview.

O'Kelley's attorneys, Brian Daly, Michael Edwards and Steven Beauvais, presented a different side of O'Kelley. They told the jury he was a victim himself of sexual abuse, child abuse and neglect.

"Before this trial and our representation, no one spent as much time caring about Dorian as we did," said Daly. "As sad and pathetic as that sounds."

His father wouldn't take him in; his mother never even came to his trial.

Desperate to save his life, O'Kelley's lawyers brought his brothers to court to plead for his life. "My brother made a mistake, he's a good man," testified Gilbert Cosson.

The jury wasn't convinced. "Ultimately it's very disappointing, because our job was to save his life," said Beauvais. "We failed."

O'Kelley's lawyers will file a number of appeals. But for now he's sentenced to die by lethal injection.

O'Kelley's friend, Daryll Stinski, is also charged in the killings and could also face the death penalty. He should go to trial next year.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com