Jury recommends life in prison without parole for Abbott

By Melanie Posey

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It took a Jefferson County jury less than one hour Monday to hand down a recommended sentence for Scott Lamar Abbott.   

The same five women and seven men who on Friday convicted Abbott of stabbing four people to death in a Hueytown home in 2009 today said he should spend life in prison without the possibility of parole instead of the death penalty.  

"I have to go along with the jury's decision," said Pam Gilbert, just minutes after learning the recommendation.  "My wishes are that that he doesn't live long in prison."

Gilbert's only child, 31-year old Chad Gilbert, was stabbed multiple times in the 2009 incident, along with three others:  Jeri Lyn Cole, Nikia Sandlin, and Josh Gileo.  

"I think he deserves the death penalty," Gilbert said. "This crime he committed against my son and the others, he deserves that."

Just moments before jurors began deliberating, they had heard from attorneys.  Abbott's lawyer delivered sermon-like statements, quoting scripture to convince jurors to spare his client's life.  Prosecutor Lane Tolbert encouraged death, telling the jury they should, "render unto Caeser what is Caeser's."  

In the end, it was Abbott's personal past of sexual abuse and bouts with mental illness, including several suicide attempts, that swayed jurors.

"It's hard for families to understand that because of what their members went through," said lead prosecutor Lane Tolbert.  

Ultimately, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Mac Parsons must decide whether to accept the jury's recommendation or overturn it.  He will hand down that sentence December 1st.

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