Jury hears testimony in sentencing of convicted cop killer - CBS46 News

Jury hears testimony in sentencing of convicted cop killer

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Eric Barker and Ricky Bryant Eric Barker and Ricky Bryant
William Woodard William Woodard

Jurors soon will decide if a convicted cop killer should die for his crimes.

On Wednesday, defense attorneys for William Woodard will continue calling witnesses in this punishment phase of the death penalty trial. They're trying to convince the jury to spare Woodard's life.

Family members of slain DeKalb County police officers Eric Barker and Ricky Bryant told jurors on Tuesday how their lives have been affected ever since Woodard murdered the officers.

The victim impact statements were part of the prosecution's presentation during the sentencing phase.

Officer Bryant's mother Vicky Griffin said, "I still can't believe my son is gone. I think about my son seven days a week 24 hours a day. I find myself at work breaking down and at home even when I hear his name."

"How do you explain to your children that their dad is never coming back?" Bryant's widow, LaToya Bryant asked.

Bryant told jurors she is now raising their four children by herself. "There's no way possible for me to put in words the amount of pain, frustration, confusion and sleepless nights that I and my children have had to endure since January 16, 2008," she said.

Woodard, 31, shot and killed Bryant and his fellow officer Eric Barker in the parking lot of the Glenwood Gardens Apartments. Last week, the jury convicted Woodard of murder.

Hilda Barker, Officer Barker's mother, told the jury, "Not a day goes by that I don't wish for my son. I think about him, I cry for him and just plain miss him. Some days are worse than others. Some nights I wake from a deep sleep and sit on my bed and cry. I feel so much pain for my child."

Like Bryant, Officer Barker also was married with four children.

Other DeKalb County police officers also have been affected by the murders.

DeKalb County Precinct Commander William Jacob told jurors, "Many of our officers and supervisors continue to attend counseling sessions to cope with this tragedy. Some of the officers could not go back to work and some officers resigned."

The sentencing phase is expected to continue Wednesday with testimony from defense witnesses.

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