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Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter was in the courtroom.
“Tim O’Rilley’s mother got on the witness stand. And, under questioning, by Tim O’Rilley’s criminal defense lawyer, sobbed and broke down and told the jury that if they vote to put her son to death it will kill her,” Ashenfelter said.
“She said ‘He’s my baby. I just couldn’t deal with it. He doesn’t deserve it,” Ashenfelter said.
WWJ and Fox 2 Legal analyst Charlie Langton said this is a smart strategy by the defense.
“You want to personalize your witness, and in this case the defendant. And, if the jury can relate to the defendant as a person, as a real human being with emotions that means something to someone…If the jury can get into the personality, then that could be a very, very powerful testimony not to give the dealth penalty,” Langton said.
O’Reilly was convicted of murdering security guard Norman Stephens during a December 2001 robbery of the Dearborn Federal Credit Union.
The death penalty isn’t available in Michigan courts but is an option for murders prosecuted in federal court.
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