David Damm is sentenced to death - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

David Damm is sentenced to death

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GALENA, IL (KWWL) --  The jury has reached a decision on whether David Damm will be sentenced to the death penalty.

David Damm will be sentenced to death.

Tuesday, a jury ruled David Damm is eligible for the death penalty.  The eligibility phase comes before sentencing.  To be eligible for the death penalty in Illinois, two criteria must be met.  The jury decided two factors were in place for eligibility:  Damm was older than 18 at the time of the murder, and Damm paid someone to carry out a murder (one of three possible eligibility factors presented to jurors by prosecutors).

Last week the jury found Damm guilty on all three charges:  first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping.  David Damm is convicted on charges of hiring Bruce Burt to kill 13-year-old Donnisha Hill, to cover up molestation charges.

Not all convicted murderers are eligible for the death penalty in Illinois.  Prosecuting attorneys say deciding to seek capitol punishment is a tough decision.

"Seeking the death penalty is a sentence that we look at for the worst of the worst.  We thought that this was... that we believed this was the type of case that the death penalty should be sought," Richard Schwind with the Illinois Attorney General's Office said.  The Attorney General's office is assisting the county state's attorney with prosecution of this case.

The third and final phase, sentencing, begins Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.  The prosecution and defense will both present evidence and witnesses.  Bruce Burt is expected to appear on the stand Wednesday.  Attorneys expect the jury to decide sentencing by Thursday.

Illinois has a moratorium on capitol punishment.  So if sentenced to death, Damm would stay on death row as long as the hold stands.

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