Friends, family ask jurors to spare convicted Oklahoma City killer
Tuesday, July 13th 2004, 4:50 PM CDT
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Friends and family members of convicted killer Brenda Andrew pleaded with jurors Wednesday to save her life for the sake of her two children.
``Please, jury members, please don't vote to make Tricity and Parker orphans for life,'' said Paul Southwick, Brenda Andrew's cousin. ``Brenda Andrew's death will not bring Rob (Andrew) back.''
Oklahoma County jurors convicted Brenda Andrew on Tuesday of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Prosecutors allege Andrew and her lover, James Pavatt, conspired to kill her husband, Rob Andrew, on Nov. 20, 2001, to collect his $800,000 life insurance policy.
Andrew's jury will consider whether to sentence her to life in prison, with or without parole, or death. Pavatt was convicted of murder and sentenced in October to death.
As prosecutors painted Andrew as a callous murderer, defense attorney George Miskovsky III portrayed Andrew as a kind neighbor, a Christian and a good mother who loves her children.
``She has capabilities,'' Miskovsky said. ``She can help other people. There is value and meaning to her existence.''
Terese Hall, a psychological expert hired by the defense, testified that Andrew presented an ``extremely low risk for future violence.''
Marilyn Evers, Brenda Andrew's aunt, said she believes her niece can help others if given a prison sentence.
Evers remembered how Andrew encouraged her after the unexpected death of Evers' husband a year and a half ago. Andrew wrote her dozens of letters from prison, Evers said.
``I think she has an incredibly unique ability to reach out to other people,'' she said.
Prosecutor Fern Smith said Rob Andrew's murder included three conditions that justify the death penalty in Oklahoma: the murder was committed for financial gain, it can be considered heinous, atrocious or cruel and Andrew presents a continuing threat to society.
``Brenda Andrew values money over the life of her husband and the father of her children,'' Smith said.
Smith pointed to Andrew's apparent lack of remorse _ she didn't attend her husband's funeral _ and the manner of Rob Andrew's death _ he was shot twice with a shotgun in the couple's garage.
``Brenda Andrew will do whatever is necessary to get what she wants,'' Smith said.
William Andrew, Rob Andrew's brother, said he longs to see his brother again, ask him his opinion and hear him laugh.
``How could someone do something to someone so gentle?'' he asked, looking at Brenda Andrew, who shielded her face with her hair. ``It hurts to see his children without their father and my parents without their son.''
Thomas Andrew testified that he still thinks about his brother Rob Andrew every day and remembers the week after the murder when he couldn't sleep at night.
Thomas Andrew recounted memories of his brother: phone conversations and humorous cards from Rob Andrew.
``His children will not have these memories,'' Thomas Andrew said, prompting two jurors to dab at their eyes. ``This is a tragedy that did not have to happen.''