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Death penalty phase of Jamie Hood trial begins | News

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Death penalty phase of Jamie Hood trial begins
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ATHENS, GA (WXIA) – Heartbreaking testimony came from friends and relatives of the victims of convicted killer Jamie Hood in court on Wednesday, during the first day of the penalty phase of Hood's trial.

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In the sentencing phase of the trial, both sides are able to bring forward people to speak.

Jurors had tears at times, while listening to friends and family of slain officer Buddy Christian. From his widow, together since they were 16 years old. They saw pictures of Christian as a boy, a young man, a husband, a father. They heard from his mother Carolyn, struggling to get out each and every word.

"There's a void," Carolyn Christian said. "I miss him so much. My heart's desire is to hold him tight, just one more time."

They heard from Christian's father, Elmer Christian III, who says his only goal as a dad was to protect his son – and he couldn't.

"I keep telling myself there's nothing I could do," he said. "But that's little comfort."

The jury is debating whether to sentence Hood to death or life in prison.

There was compelling testimony from Athens-Clarke County Officer Tony Howard.

Howard survived his encounter with Hood, but says going back to his family in blue was hard, knowing Christian had died, and that he had been spared.

"What could I have done different to prevent this horrible incident," Howard said. "I sometimes feel like there is a dark cloud over my head, pulling me back in the other direction, instead of moving forward in my life."

This is a story that has stretched out over four years.

Hood shot and killed Christian in March, 2011. He was arrested live on our air, a few days later. Jury selection began in June, and the jury found him guilty on Monday of this week. The sentencing phase of the trial began on Wednesday. It continues on Thursday.

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