A jury voted unanimously today to set Robert O. Arrington's punishment at death.
Mr. Arrington, 56, was convicted of murder last week for the slaying of Kathy Hutchens in April 2001. The Richmond County Superior Court jury returned to hear from a final witness and then deliberated about an hour before deciding on the death sentence.
Ms. Hutchens was Mr. Arrington's second homicide victim. In 1986 he beat and strangled his wife, Elizabeth Arrington, and pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. He served about five years of a 15-year prison sentence.
Ms. Hutchens, 46, was found dead in her George Road home April 13, 2001. According to medical and crime scene experts who testified during Mr. Arrington's trial, she was pursued through her home and repeatedly struck in the head by two weapons. Near her body lay the body of her dog.
Mr. Arrington had left behind his fingerprint and boot prints in Ms. Hutchens' blood. DNA tests revealed Ms. Hutchens' blood was also on the boots Mr. Arrington was still wearing April 13, 2001, as he stood outside her home with other neighbors when her body had been discovered.
Mr. Arrington tried to convince the jury that he had only found Ms. Hutchens' body in the house the night of April 3, 2001, and was too scared to alert authorities to the slaying. That morning, Ms. Hutchens had called the sheriff's office for help in getting Mr. Arrington to leave her home.