Cary man gets life sentence for killing wife
Posted July 30, 2009 11:39 a.m. EDT
Updated July 30, 2009 6:54 p.m. EDT
Lumberton, N.C. — Jurors took only 40 minutes Thursday to decide to spare the life of a Cary man who killed his wife almost six years ago.
The jury on Tuesday convicted Myron Britt of first-degree murder in the August 2003 shooting death of his wife, Nancy Britt. The Wake County teacher was killed at her sister's Lumberton home.
After hearing closing arguments Thursday morning and receiving instructions from a judge, jurors quickly decided to sentence Britt to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Britt then told jurors they were wrong to convict him and would have to live with their mistake for the rest of their lives.
"God is our ultimate judge. I do not fear God's judgment. I never have. As people, we make mistakes. The 12 of you have made a grievous mistake in convicting me," he said during his sentencing. "Despite the decision that you came to, I forgive you."
George Crumpler, the jury foreman, said ballistics tests presented during the three-week trial were compelling evidence. Authorities connected a handgun Myron Britt once owned with the bullet that killed his wife.
"We all feel very confident that we reached the right decision," Crumpler said.
In his closing argument, Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt urged jurors to sentence Myron Britt to death because he killed his wife over $800,000. Authorities alleged he was in financial straits and wanted to collect on a life insurance policy.
"Myron Britt was swimming in a whirlpool of financial debt. The only avenue, in his mind, to get out of that was to kill his wife," said Johnson Britt, who isn't related to the defendant.
The prosecutor called the life insurance settlement "a mere pittance for the life of anyone."
Defense attorney Sue Berry begged jurors to spare Myron Britt's life, saying she couldn't add much to his children's previous statements.
In emotional testimony Wednesday, Britt's adult children, Brandon and Lauren, testified that they wanted to continue their relationships with their father. They also said their grandmother would be devastated if Myron Britt were sentenced to die.
Berry, who spoke in a whisper during her closing argument as she fought back tears, said jurors should consider "if (a) person's continued presence on Earth is more valuable than death by execution."
"Do justice. Love mercy," she said.
Crumpler said the children's testimony played a major role in their decision for a life sentence.
"Any time you see kids up crying for their dad," he said before choking up.
The trial was the second for Britt in the slaying. A June 2006 trial ended in a mistrial when the jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of conviction.
Nancy Britt's sister, Judy Ivey, said she is glad the case is finally over and that her former brother-in-law received a life sentence.
"I love the children. My heart just goes out to the children because they need him," Ivey said. "It’s been a long six years, and I just thank the Lord for helping me through it.”