An Alabama man has been sentenced to death after being convicted of killing his 20-month-old daughter.
Lionel Francis shot his daughter, Alexandria, in May 2016. The shooting happened at the family home after he had a minor argument with the child’s mother about money.
The child’s mother, Ashley Ross, testified during trial that after arguing with Francis, she took a shower and was getting dressed while Alexandria was toddling around the room. Then, she said, Francis came in.
According to testimony, she said that he didn’t look angry. When she looked away, she heard him cock and then fire a gun, shooting the child in the forehead.
According to WHNT-TV, Ross testified that Francis told her, “Now you’ll have to live with what you made me do,” as he walked out of the room. Ross asked if he was going to kill her as well, and he replied he wouldn’t kill her, but that he “wasn’t going to have a baby with you, either.”
Francis was convicted of capital murder in May. The jury voted 11 to 1 to recommend the death penalty. Under Alabama law, if 10 or more jurors vote for the death penalty, the final decision is up to the judge.
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On Thursday, the judge heard arguments from both sides.
Madison County Assistant District Attorney Tim Douthit pushed for the death penalty. “I cannot think of anyone more deserving than somebody that executes another human being, let alone a child, let alone a toddler, let alone his own biological two-year-old,” he said in court, according to WHNT. “If you think that some people just deserve death, this is the guy.”
But defense attorney Bruce Gardner said that Francis was remorseful, according to AL.com. He asked the judge to sentence his client to life in prison without parole, because the jury’s recommendation was not unanimous.
In the end, Circuit Judge Ruth Ann Hall sentenced Francis to death.
Francis plans to appeal the sentencing.