CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The jury is now deliberating the sentence for Andre Hampton, the man found guilty last week of felony child abuse and felony murder by torture in the death of his 23-month-old son, Elijah Burger.
Hampton faces either life or death-- life in prison or the death penalty.
The jury, according to the prosecution, has to answer four questions while determining the sentence:
- Did the State prove aggravating circumstance that the murder was atrocious, heinous and cruel?
- Are there any mitigating circumstances with value?
- Do the mitigating factors sufficiently outweigh the aggravating?
- Is the aggravating sufficient enough for death row?
According to Hampton's defense team, some mitigating factors may include no significant prior criminal history, murder happened while under a mental disturbance, age of defendant, Hampton was a good son who supported his mom, generation history of abuse, Hampton did well in school, Hampton's Navy career and the fact that Hampton told his brother he wanted to stop the cycle of violence in the family.
The prosecution said the defense's list of mitigating circumstances are a "pile of lies." The prosecution's key point in their closing argument on Thursday was that Elijah died filled with pain-- a slow and agonizing death.
In court on Wednesday, Elijah's mother said says she now forgives Hampton for everything he did, including beating her and dislocating her arm, for taking Elijah after a fight, for using Elijah to get her to drop a restraining order, for whipping Elijah with a belt every other day and for all the bruises she regularly saw on Elijah's body.
Tuesday in court, Hampton's mother testified she beat her son and so did the men in her life, including boyfriends and husbands. She says the beatings happened with brushes and belts, and some of Hampton's whippings were while he was naked.
During the trial, the prosecution introduced several items into evidence which they claim were used to strike Elijah: A toothbrush which was used to rap his knuckles, a hairbrush that was used on his bottom, and a belt which may have been used on the 23-month-old for as long as four hours.