DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Jurors in Dallas on Friday continued discussing the fate of Erbie Bowser. After three weeks of emotional testimony from experts, Bowser was convicted of murdering Neima Williams as part of a killing spree that left three women and a teenager dead.
The same jury that found Bowser guilty of capital murder is now trying to decide if he should be sentenced to death.
Jurors in the punishment phase have been told to only consider two questions. First, will the defendant be a continuing threat to society and try to commit more crimes? Second, are there any other mitigating factors that would warrant sparing Bowser’s life?
During closing arguments, prosecutor Glen Fitzmartin replayed the 911 call from the night of the killings. It served as a harsh reminder of the terror that Bowser’s victims faced. In the audio, the jury could hear victim Zina Williams begging for her life just before she was shot in the head.
“I ask you for the ultimate punishment, because it’s the ultimate crime,” the prosecution said, asking jurors for justice. “Joy to the righteous and terror to the evil. This is the day that terror needs to fill the evil doer.”
Meanwhile, Bowser’s defense team asked the jury to spare his life. “Compassion remains our best hope for healing,” attorneys said. “Mercy says more about you than it does him. Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”
The jury started submitting questions to the judge early Friday morning. They drafted five questions specifically pertaining to legal definitions and clarification on pieces of evidence such as jail records, text messages and things related to alleged threats made by Bowser.
Judge Tracy Holmes provided responses along with the definitions of “society” and “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
If the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision to give Bowser the death penalty, then he will automatically be given a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.