Jury sentences cop-killer to life without parole - CBS46 News

Jury sentences cop-killer to life without parole

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The jury has reached a verdict in the punishment of a man convicted of killing two DeKalb County police officers in 2008.

The jury sentenced William Woodard to life in prison without parole for the deaths of officers Eric Barker and Ricky Bryant.

Family members for the fallen officers hugged and wiped away tears as the jury read the verdict to the court. Many, like Yolanda Barker, Barker's widow wanted Woodard to receive the death penalty.

"I have mixed emotions right now, I am angry, I am sad," Barker said.  "Right now, I feel like my children were cheated, he (Woodard) gets to get up tomorrow, breathe, touch and feel, and my kids' father will never get to do that again, or Ricky,"  Barker said.  

During closing arguments of the punishment phase of Woodard's trial, DeKalb County prosecutor Don Geary told jurors they should not show Woodard mercy when they decide his punishment.

"When it was his chance to show mercy, what did he do? He held court. He executed those two fine gentlemen and on his way out, just for good measure, put one last bullet in officer Barker's head," Geary said.

Geary told jurors that Woodard's attorneys might beg for mercy, and that's just what Dwight Thomas did.

"Yes, that is correct, we will beg for his life," said Thomas, Woodard's attorney. "It kind of reminds me of a song The Temptations had a few years ago, Ain't Too Proud to Beg. I'm not too proud to beg."

Thomas told jurors Woodard committed a horrendous crime but he does not deserve to die.

"He is not a monster. He's not Freddie Krueger who's going out killing teenagers," Thomas said. "He's not Jason from Friday the 13th. He's not Jeffery Dahmer eating people."

Woodard's attorneys said he is a victim of circumstance.

"From the day he was born until that fateful day in 2008, he was punished, ladies and gentlemen. He didn't choose to have a father who wasn't around. He didn't choose to have a mother who prostituted herself and used drugs. He didn't choose to have a mother who was mentally retarded," said attorney Bill Morrison.

Officer Bryant's widow also spoke about the verdict handed down by the jury.

"I am just grateful he will not see the light of day anymore," La Toya Bryant said.  "No, it is not going to be bring my husband back.  But, he is going to spend the rest of his life in jail.  It is solace knowing he will never get out again, so I am grateful and happy about that," Bryant said. 

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