by: Mark Becker Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Jurors will continue deciding Thursday whether a convicted triple-killer in Charlotte should be put to death.
Attorneys for Justin Hurd plan to call more witnesses to the stand in his defense.
The jury heard from Hurd's mother Wednesday, as they began to consider whether he should die for the crimes.
The jury that convicted Justin Hurd on Monday of the murders of Kevin Young, Kinshasa Wagstaff and Jasmine Hines in 2008 must decide if Hurd will spend the rest of his life in prison or be put to death for the execution-style murders.
On Wednesday, Hurd’s attorneys began their case by telling jurors that Hurd is a very intelligent man who grew up in a troubled family and had not had a significant criminal history before his convictions in this case.
One of their first witnesses would be Hurd’s mother.
“That's a picture of Justin at 6 months old,” she told the jury as she described one of the pictures Hurd’s attorney wanted jurors to see.
She spoke firmly but without showing emotion as she talked about her son, calling him “a very good kid” whose last high school picture was when he was 16 or 17 years old.
Hurd appeared to choke up as he listened to her testimony but didn’t say anything aloud.
Then his uncle took the stand. Timothy Pope described Hurd as a bright young child who grew up in a troubled home. His mother and father divorced when Hurd was 4 or 5 years old, and his mother was often not at home as he was growing up.
Still he testified that Hurd seemed to be on the right track -- quiet and respectful, and not violent.
“I never had to worry about him or fear there was any type of violent tempers. He was always just laid back,” Pope said.
Prosecutors are not presenting evidence in the sentencing phase of the trial.
Defense attorneys plan to call one more witness on Thursday before turning the case, and Hurd’s life, over to the jury.
Read more from the trial by clicking here.