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Jury Sentences Eric Lane To Death

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Eric Lane (July 7)
GOLDSBORO, N.C. — The jury that convicted a Wayne County man for the 2002 killing a 5-year-old girl, sentenced him to death after just 50 minutes of deliberation Monday.

The decision to sentence Eric Lane to death for the kidnapping, raping and killing of Precious Whitfield came shortly before 5 p.m.

"I'm happy now," said Michelle Whitfield, the victim's mother. "We have closure in our family now. We're all happy."

During the sentencing phase of the trial, Lane opted not to present any evidence on his behalf and forfeited any attempt at convincing the jury to save his life. He would not even allow his attorneys to offer a closing statement at the sentencing.

In its closing statement, the prosecution told the jury that the crime was so atrocious and cruel that Lane deserved to die.

Precious Whitfield's parents agreed.

"For him to do what he did to her while she was still alive and while she was still trying to fight for her life -- and I know she was telling him to stop, I know she was, but for the way he did her, he really does deserve to die," Michelle Whitfield said.

"Now that it's about done and over with, I feel more relieved," said the victim's father, Anthony McQuirter. "We can't bring her back, but she can rest in peace now."

There were no explanations for Lane's decision to not plead his case and that may explain the swiftness of the jury's decision.

After Friday's guilty verdict, the judge said Lane requested that his attorneys not be involved in the sentencing phase.


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