Death sentence for father convicted of murdering sons

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PHOENIX -- A Maricopa County jury has handed down the death sentence for the Scottsdale father convicted of shooting and killing his two young sons in March 2010.

The jury took less than 48 hours to decide 42-year-old Andre LeTeve should die for killing his five and one-year-old boys.  His ex-wife and her family showed a mix of emotion as the judge sentenced LeTeve to death.   Some cried and whispered words of thanks while others sat quiet and emotionless. 

The face of the convicted murderer, LeTeve, was blank as the judge told him he must die as punishment for killing five-year-old Alec and one-year-old Asher.  LeTeve's parents also showed no emotion as the death penalty was invoked for their son.

However, LeTeve’s voice broke, betraying his stoic façade as he stated his name and date of birth at the request of the court.

After sentencing LeTeve’s ex-wife had no comment about the punishment handed down by the court, but her mother spoke for the entire family.

“We want you all to know there's no winner here,” said Marcia Zellner, grandmother to the slain boys.  “Alec and Asher are gone.”

The defense had argued LeTeve’s actions deserved the lesser penalty of life in prison.  His lawyer said LeTeve was spontaneously overcome by his financial ruin and impending divorce when he shot his sons in the backs of their heads with a .38 caliber, before making a failed suicide attempt by shooting himself in the chin.

However, that’s not the way the jury saw the case.  The unanimous verdict proved jurors considered LeTeve’s actions to be cold, calculated, murder.

“It’s still a difficult decision,” said jury foreman Tom Mertz.  “But we followed the rules that the state sets up and the rules said death.”

This ends a long, sad chapter in the lives of LeTeve’s victims who now hope this case helps bring change.

“It was a terrible tragedy this weekend [in Connecticut] and let this [verdict] be one small step in stopping the violence all over our country,” said Zellner.