MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Marshall County Circuit Judge Tim Riley formally sentenced Jimmy O’Neal Spencer to death following the jury’s recommendation last month.

Spencer was found guilty of seven counts of capital murder on October 26 for the killings of Marie Martin, her 7-year-old great-grandson Colton Lee, and her neighbor Martha Reliford in Guntersville in July 2018.

Spencer’s formal sentencing took place on Monday, as victim impact statements were read by the three victims’ families. Riley handed down the formal sentence.

“It’s ordered and judged by this court that you be sentenced to death and you deserve death. If there ever was a reason for the death penalty to exist in this state, you’re it,” said Riley.

Victim impact statements were written by Lee’s mother, Martin’s brother, and three of Reliford’s sisters.

After the hearing concluded, the family spoke to media outlets outside of the courtroom. An understandably emotional time for them, Martin’s brother, Junior Kitchens, spoke for the family. Here’s a snippet from that statement.

A jury of seven men and five women voted 12-0 in favor of the death penalty on Oct. 28 after only 40 minutes of deliberation.

Spencer could be seen smirking and taking a deep breath in the courtroom as the guilty verdict was read out loud, while members of the victims’ families were emotional in the gallery following the verdict.

When testimony finally began on the fourth day of the trial, the jury heard vivid testimony from Martin’s granddaughter of the scene as she found her grandmother and Lee. The prosecution provided pictures of the scene, Martin and Lee which painted a grim picture.

Later testimony from State Medical Examiner Dr. Valerie Green said Martin had been strangled with a dog leash and Lee had been hit in the head 16 or 17 times. She said the injuries were consistent with a claw hammer. Guntersville Police Officers at the scene reportedly found one near his body.

Testimony from other officers said they found Reliford dead in her home after responding to the scene at Martin’s home across the street.

Multiple witnesses said Reliford had been dead for several days and pictures of the scene painted a grim sight. Officers and Green all testified to the presence of insects in Reliford’s home and on her remains.

Green said Reliford had been struck several times in the head.

The biggest revelation in the case came on the sixth day of the trial when prosecutors played a recording where Spencer admitted to the killings to police.

Spencer could be heard saying he and his girlfriend were homeless at the time and he had gone to Reliford’s house for money. Reliford had previously paid Spencer to do odd jobs for her.

In the recording, Spencer described how he hit Reliford with a hatchet several times and slit her throat to be sure she was dead. He also could be heard saying he stole about $600 at the time.

Spencer also expressed remorse for his actions.

“If I could’ve got the money any other kind of way I would’ve did it,” He said.

Despite that, Spencer said after he ran out of money he decided to go to Martin’s house. He recounted how both were killed and expressed remorse for involving Lee.

In his closing arguments, Marshall County District Attorney Everette Johnson said while Spencer claimed to be sorry he still chose to go to Martin’s house. He said despite Spencer admitting to the killings, the evidence was also overwhelming.