A Mississippi man was given four death sentences by a jury on Thursday, hours after he spoke in court and blamed the devil for his actions the night eight people were shot to death. Willie Cory Godbolt, 37, was convicted Tuesday of the May 2017 slayings of eight people, reports the AP. Four of the convictions were for murder, which carry a sentence of life in prison. Four other convictions were for capital murder—a killing committed along with another felony. The unanimous decisions for the death penalty were handed down after the same jurors who convicted Godbolt heard testimony from several people Wednesday and Thursday during the penalty phase of the trial, the Daily Leader reports.
Investigators said that on May 27, 2017, Godbolt went to his in-laws' home and argued with his estranged wife about their children. A deputy who responded to a domestic disturbance call, Godbolt's mother-in-law, and two other people were killed there. Two young people were later killed in a second house and a married couple was killed in a third house. Godbolt gave a rambling speech full of religious references in court Thursday, the Enterprise-Journal reported. Godbolt said he had prayed to be a better man, "but the devil came to kill and destroy. He wasn’t going to let that be." Clinical psychologist Matt Mendel testified that he interviewed Godbolt and several of his relatives on behalf of the defense. When Godbolt was 17, his stepmother shot and killed his father, which "led to enormous anger and resentment, especially toward women," Mendel said.
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