ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - A 12-member jury has unanimously recommended the death penalty for a man it convicted last month of kidnapping and murdering a Florida State University student.
Quentin Truehill, 26, was the first of three suspects to stand trial in the killing of Vincent Binder (pictured below) in 2010. The jury that convicted Truehill of first-degree murder spent hours Friday deliberating whether to recommend the death penalty or let him face life in prison without parole.
The sentencing phase of the trial lasted all week, with testimony from both sides. The judge will make the ultimate decision on sentencing sometime in the next few weeks.
"The jury sent a very strong message with a unanimous 12-vote verdict. So we are pleased that finally at least one measure of justice has been done," Assistant State Attorney Mark Johnson said.
A large group of Binder's family was in the courtroom to hear the killer's suggested sentence.
"It's a bittersweet moment for them," Johnson said. "A trial like this reminds them of what they have lost. He was a very unique individual. He had a bright future ahead of him."
Truehill, Peter Hughes, 26, and Kentrell Johnson, 43, (pictured below) were jail escapees from Louisiana.
Binder was abducted in Tallahassee and his body was dumped along State Road 16 in St. Augustine. It become known in court that Binder died of multiple stab wounds.
After friends reported Binder missing on April 8, 2010, the Tallahassee Police Department said it began reviewing Binder's phone and financial information. The review led investigators to Miami.
Tallahassee police said they were notified by the South Florida U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force that it had located a stolen pickup truck believed to be used by three prison escapees from Louisiana. Investigators linked the three fugitives to Tallahassee and possibly to the disappearance of Binder.
U.S. marshals apprehended the fugitives on April 12, 2010.
Investigators said they later received information from one of the fugitives that further linked them to Binder's disappearance.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents searching for evidence in conjunction with the case found Binder's body in a field near the intersection of Interstate 95 and State Road 16.
Hughes and Johnson are awaiting trials. The state will also seek the death penalty in their cases if they're convicted.
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