Murderer's family testifies in sentencing hearing

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - On Tuesday a Butler County jury heard testimony from a half dozen members of Victor Gantt's family. They all testified to the broken and abusive home Victor grew up in.

Gantt was convicted last week in the murder of Leroy Jones, 75, in May of 2011.

Defense attorney Melinda Cook says multiple traumatic experiences during Gantt's childhood and young adulthood can explain, not excuse him, for his violent actions.

Cook says Gantt was continuously abused by his father.

"Phillip Gantt Sr. made it a point to keep Victor separate," said Cook. "He had a french door that he padlocked and locked. He said to the Murphy children, you stay on this side and Victor you stay on this side."

Victor Gantt has around 20 known brothers and sisters all fathered by Phillip Gantt Sr. from seven different women.

Many of those family members took the stand Tuesday, re-living the abuse by Gantt Sr. and testifying Victor was left to fend for himself at three-years old.

"He was left at the hospital by his birth mother who had no inclination to have any contact with him," said Cook.

Family's testimony showed Gantt was a victim of sex abuse by his own family members and Victor had a habit of smoking marijuana. The drugs turned him violent and made him a totally different person.

The prosecution pointed out that no family members saw or heard from Gantt in the hours leading up to the murder of Jones and can't testify to the mental state he was in.

"This defendant came crashing into his home, burglarizing his home with an axe and then utilizing that axe for the purpose of robbing Leroy Jones and causing him injury, causing his death," said Mike Gmoser, Butler County Prosecutor.

The jury has four options, to sentence Gantt to life in prison with eligibility for parole after 25 or 30 years, life in prison without parole, and the death penalty.

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