Richmond toll plaza killer sentenced to death

MARTINEZ, Calif.

Nathan Burris, 49, received the sentence after a lengthy, tense and oftentimes emotional hearing in a Martinez courtroom Friday morning.

The sentence comes two months after a jury convicted Burris on capital murder charges and returned a death sentence for the double murder of Deborah Ross, 51, and Ersie "Chuckie" Everette," 58, on the busy bridge toll plaza during peak evening commute hours on Aug. 11, 2009.

"This was an extremely difficult trial," Chief Assistant District Attorney Harold Jewett told the court Friday morning. "We have been treated every day to that same kind of hateful arrogance that undoubtedly precipitated the crime itself."

Burris reiterated today as he did throughout the trial that it didn't matter whether he received the death penalty or not because he believes legal battles over the penalty in the state of California make his execution unlikely.

"You've made yourself very clear that you don't believe the death penalty will be carried out, and only time will tell," Judge John W. Kennedy told the defendant Friday.

Nonetheless, the judge handed down two life sentences for two first-degree murder convictions with special circumstances because the crime was committed while lying in wait and because Burris was convicted for multiple first-degree murders.

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