Sentencing Phase Begins in Justin Hurd Death Penalty Case

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CHARLOTTE, NC – “A very happy child. A joy to be around,” Justin Hurd’s mother testified.

Kimberly Hurd painted a very different picture of her son as she took the stand Wednesday.
“Just a really good kid. I never had any trouble from him at all,” she said.
 
Defense attorneys are working to humanize the convicted murderer, as jurors consider his fate.  They found Hurd guilty of killing Kevin Young, his girlfriend Kinshasa Wagstaff, and her niece Jasmine Hines back in 2008. Prosecutors say they were shot, throats slashed, and their house set on fire. Investigators called it a drug-related robbery.
 
Wednesday, defense attorneys argued Hurd grew up in an unstable environment. An uncle testified Hurd’s parents divorced, and Justin was forced to move in with relatives. “Fortunately for Justin, he had my parents, but it’s still not the same as having your own parents. So I think it was quite unstable,” said Timothy Pope.
 
And Hurd’s GED teacher said, if spared the death penalty, he could help other inmates in math.  “He was one of the smartest students I’ve ever had. He received his GED very quickly, and after he got his GED, then I asked him to stay on as a tutor,” said Tanya Richards.
 
Prosecutors did not offer new evidence, saying they’ll let what’s already been presented speak for itself. Thursday two more people will testify for the defense before closing arguments begin.