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Posted: 5:19 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, 2013
By Jason Stoogenke
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Closing arguments start Thursday morning in the sentencing phase of Andre Hampton's death penalty trial. Jurors found him guilty last week of beating his almost 2-year-old son, Elijah, to death.Defense lawyers called the toddler's mother, Lashinna Burger, to the stand last. She told jurors she forgives him. Moments later, she talked about her feelings with WSOC. "I have no right to judge him. No matter what he did, of course what he did was wrong, but it's like I'm judging him. Only God is to judge him," she said. Burger said she hasn't kept in touch with Hampton, that she's barely seen him since he killed Elijah in 2008, and that she didn't even read a letter he sent her. When asked about the possibility Hampton could get the death penalty and that her words may save him, Burger told WSOC she was glad her role was over. "I haven't even thought about it, you know, I'm just so relieved right now, I'm fine," she said. But prosecutors got her to admit Hampton beat her and that she forgave him each time, suggesting she forgives easily and can't stay angry with him. So they want jurors to put less weight in her forgiveness and not feel compelled to follow her lead when they decide life or death. Hampton testified in his own defense during the guilt/innocence phase of trial, but not the sentencing phase.
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