Jury could choose death for convicted killer

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - A Butler County jury is deciding if Victor Gantt will receive the death penalty for the murder of Leroy Jones in May of 2011.

Attorneys made their closing arguments on Thursday morning, and then the jury was given their instructions.

On Wednesday, Gantt read a written statement to the court Wednesday, apologizing to Jones' family.

"If there was a day ever in my life that I could take back and have a second chance to relive, it would be the day of May 2, 2011," said Gantt, 26.

Last week a jury found guilty of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. Gantt broke into the Middletown home of Leroy Jones and killed the 75-year-old man with a hand axe. Gantt then stayed inside the Jones' home for an hour and a half watching porn and then tried to burn the house down.

"There is absolutely no excuse for what I've done, nor will I try to make it," said Gantt. "What I done is inexcusable not to mention selfish, thoughtless, devilish and just flat out wrong. All I can do now is take the punishment."

Over the past two days the jury heard testimony from Gantt's family members and friends. They testified Gantt was under the influence of drugs around the time of the offense, causing him to act disrespectful and not himself.

During Gantt's statement he made no excuses, only apologies.

"I want to say I'm sorry to the Jones' family and his wife for their loss and all the pain that they endured because of my careless actions," said Gantt.

Gantt's family sat emotional while Victor was on the stand. They hope the jury will spare his life.

"I understand if nobody forgives me for what I've done," said Gantt. "I wish I would have been a better person, I'm sorry and may God forgive me for what I've done."

Closing arguments will be made Thursday morning. Gantt faces the death penalty.

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