ninja

Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr. was given the death penalty in his homicide trial. This was the case where men dressed as ninjas and broke into the house of the Byrd and Melanie Billings. They stole items and money from the house after they shot the Billings execution style. The ninja robber gets death.

What we can learn from this case is that in death penalty case there are two parts of the case. First the trial, then the penalty phase. Note that in the penalty phase, a unanimous verdict is NOT required, whereas in the trial portion a unanimous verdict is required. In this case, the decision for death was 10-2. In death penalty case, there are many factors that are different then in normal criminal trials. The oddest is that during jury selection a potential juror that says they are generally opposed to the death penalty or who says they would never give out the death penalty is automatically struck from the jury, yet the prosecutor does not need a unanimous vote to get the power to become a killer herself. As a result, the defendant is always faced with 12 jurors that favor the death penalty.

Author: Brian Zeiger
Brian Zeiger

Brian J. Zeiger, Esquire, is an experienced and successful criminal defense and civil rights attorney. He is a seasoned trial lawyer with significant experience before juries and judges. Brian understands civil rights cases, including Taser, Wrongful Death, Excessive Force, Police Brutality, Police Misconduct, Malicious Prosecution, Monell Claims, Sexual Assault, Prisoner’s Rights, Time Credit, Medical Malpractice, and Medical Indifference.