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James McVay Gets Death Sentence

April 14, 2014, 10:00 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

James McVay Gets Death Sentence

A Minnehaha County jury says James McVay deserves death for the brutal murder of 75-year-old Maybelle Schein.

Just after 6 p.m. Monday night the jury decided that McVay should be put to death by lethal injection.

McVay pleaded guilty but mentally ill for the July 2011 killing of Schein but for the past two weeks it was up to 12 jurors to decide his punishment.

The jury of seven men and five women heard how McVay followed visions from Lucifer in his quest to assassinate the president when he walked away from a transitional program at the South Dakota State Penitentiary on July 1, 2011.

McVay says those visions led him to Maybelle Schein's Sioux Falls home where he had to steal her car to make it to Washington DC. But he also said he needed to get 'blood on his hands' to accomplish his mission.

"I think the jury saw how vile this crime was, how heinous it was, the pain and suffering endured by Ms. Schein in this case," Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said.

McGowan has worked on this case for nearly three years. He says he pursued the death penalty against McVay - who has been diagnosed with a delusional disorder - with careful consideration and caution.

"We knew that mental health would be an issue in this case. I waited to make my determination until we had a full report from the defense expert and he determined he was sane and competent to stand trial," McGowan said.

All 12 jurors had to unanimously agree to sentence McVay to death. It took them just over five hours to do that Monday afternoon. McGowan says that's further proof of how brutal this crime was.

"I think it was clear to them how horrible this crime was. I think it was clear to them how much Ms. Schein suffered as she was killed. I think it was clear that this defendant will always be a future danger  to others whether its guards or inmates or volunteers at the penitentiary," McGowan said.

That's why James McVay will now be sitting on death row.

McVay's defense attorneys began crying in the courtroom as the verdict was read and declined to comment after court.

McVay did not show any visible emotion in the courtroom following the sentence.

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