GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — A jury has recommended that Jimmy Spencer be given the death penalty for a 2018 triple homicide in Guntersville.

The jury of seven men and five women decided Spencer’s sentence after a penalty hearing on Friday after 40 minutes of deliberations. The Jury voted 12-0 in favor of the death penalty.

Spencer’s sentence will be imposed at a sentencing hearing on November 14.

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

During the penalty hearing, District Attorney Everette Johnson, in his opening statement, told the jury that they only needed to measure the weight of the arguments made by the prosecution and defense.

Defense Attorney Robert Tutten told the jury that, with the beginning of the penalty phase, the case now shifts away from the victims and towards Spencer. He said Spencer did not have the support in his life that many other people did.

Tutten said mitigating circumstances are not an excuse but an important thing to consider. He also pointed out that Spencer had spent much of his life in prison and was released without life skills or prospects.

In the initial part of the hearing, the prosecution simply offered all the evidence that had been submitted during the trial and then rested its case.

The defense began by reading testimony from a prior hearing from Dr. Randall Griffith. Griffith, a psychologist, evaluated Spencer before the trial to see if he met the standards set by the US Supreme Court to qualify for the death penalty.

The judge ultimately decided Spencer did meet the standard, which also looks at adaptive functioning skills and if the issues were identified before a person was 18, though Griffith testified Spencer’s IQ was lower than the standard.

The defense’s only witness was Lauren Spacek, a certified mitigation specialist, who investigated Spencer’s background.

Spacek said she spent 15 to 20 hours interviewing Spencer about his background. She said she had difficulty finding Spencer’s school records, or any records before his time in the Alabama Department of Corrections.

Spacek said Spencer’s father died when he was two and his mother developed cancer when he was in second grade. She said he had brothers who were several years older and the oldest brother had a drug problem.

Spacek also detailed Spencer’s troubled life before the killings took place. She said Spencer was also diagnosed with a lung disease in 2021 that does not have a treatment or cure.

Spacek said she was also aware Spencer had been found with an improvised weapon multiple times, including on the morning of the hearing.

Under cross-examination, the prosecution asked about Spencer’s prison discipline record, his eight other felony convictions, and classes he took in prison

The prosecution also asked Spacek about prison records that said Spencer read as a hobby, despite her testimony that he had difficulty reading.

📲 Get breaking news, traffic and weather alerts directly to your smartphone. Download the News 19 App

As a rebuttal witness, the prosecution called Dr. Glen King, a forensic psychologist who evaluated Spencer. He said he had issues with the defense evaluation of Spencer because he was cuffed through the test and did not have his glasses.

King said these factors would lead to a lower score. Spencer scored 56 on the defense-ordered IQ test but scored 73 on a prison IQ test in 1984.

King said test scores are usually consistent and someone that scored a 56 would generally need a lot of supervision to function in society. He said he believed Spencer had higher adaptive functioning than someone with an IQ of 56.

King said Spencer refused to take an IQ test he was going to administer.

In closing arguments, Tutten argued that the jury banish Spencer to prison as God banished Cain.

Prosecutor Ed Kellett simply argued that no mitigating or aggravating circumstance can offset what happened in the case.