UPDATE: Jessica Carson and Blaine Milam
JURY GIVES MILAM DEATH SENTENCE
excerpts from an article by Howard Roden – The Courier Of Montgomery County (TX)
Labeled by prosecutors as a “monster” who deserves “the ultimate penalty,” convicted murderer Blaine Keith Milam was sentenced late Thursday night to die by lethal injection for his role in the beating death of his girlfriend’s daughter.
Milam, 20, was convicted of capital murder May 17 for killing 13-month-old Amora Carson, the daughter of his girlfriend, Jessica Carson.
Amora Carson died from blunt-force trauma inflicted on her Dec. 2, 2008. Milam and Jessica Carson, both of Rusk County, said they repeatedly struck the toddler with an unknown object in an attempt to remove demons from the child during an exorcism. An expert during the trial said 23 of 24 bite marks found on Amora Carson’s body belonged to Milam.
Jessica Carson is in the Rusk County Jail awaiting her trial. Milam’s trial had been moved to the Montgomery County Courthouse from Rusk County because of pretrial publicity.
The six-woman, six-man jury deliberated more than eight hours Thursday before unanimously deciding to send Milam to death row.
For Milam to receive the death penalty, the jurors ruled he would be a continual threat to society and had a role in Amora Carson’s death. Although Milam’s attorneys argued their client was mentally retarded and was faced with mitigating factors in the murder, the jury rejected both claims.
After discharging the jury, Rusk County Judge J. Clay Gossett sentenced Milam to death by lethal injection, pending a mandatory appeal by the state. Because of the automatic appeal, no date for Milam’s execution was set.
As the decision unfolded, Milam’s mother, Shirley Milam, and his sister Teresa sobbed as they embraced each other.
While Rusk County District Attorney Micheal Jimerson and Texas Attorney General Assistant Prosecutor Lisa Tanner declined comment, Rusk County Sheriff Danny Pirtle lauded the jury for providing “some closure” for the family of Amora Carson.
Conroe attorney Stephen Jackson, a member of Milam’s defense team, said Milam “doesn’t really understand what just happened. He just keeps asking, ‘Why are they doing this to me?’”
“He is child-like and mentally retarded and this is wrong. We look forward to our appeal,” Jackson said.
Earlier in the day, prosecutors spent Thursday asking the jury to find Milam capable of committing acts of violence and that he would remain a continued threat to society.
Defense attorneys, however, argued Milam should be spared the needle because he is a person with mental retardation, and that there were mitigating factors in the murder of Amora Carson, such as Milam’s limited education and his substance abuse.
Tanner and Jimerson did not concur with that argument.
Tanner said there was only one reason for the trial – and that was Blaine Milam.
“It was his conduct, actions and decisions,” she said.
Milam was the primary actor in Amora Carson’s death, Tanner said.
“He is a monster,” she said, adding that Milam deserves the “ultimate penalty.”
“If he (Milam) was abused as a child, that would be mitigating evidence, but what could mitigate this, this, this and this!” Tanner said as she flashed a series of autopsy photographs of Amora Carson. Crystal Zapata, a high school friend of Jessica Carson, turned her tear-stained eyes away from the images.
Jimerson began the day posting a photograph of Amora Carson on the overhead viewer and talking about how the “special days” Milam had enjoyed while growing up would never come for the toddler.
“She looked to make people smile,” he said. “You can’t look into those eyes and imagine the pain she suffered.
The only day Amora Carson will enjoy is “a day of justice,” Jimerson said.
Lead attorney Rick Hagan, of Longview, reiterated the defense team’s argument that Jessica Carson bore the greater responsibility for her daughter’s death.
“(The crime) didn’t take place in a vacuum,” Hagan said.
The evidence is “obvious” that Jessica Carson is “equally guilty of murdering Amora Carson,” he said.
Hagan also brought up how Milam, a registered sex offender, had been on a work release program with Rusk County several days before Amora Carson’s death.
Jackson said Milam would not be the worst person on Texas’ death row and that Milam is not shrewd or cunning. Instead, Milam is a “simple person” who is “unintelligent.”
“He will be victimized if he goes to prison,” Jackson said. “He will be picked on from the word go.”
Although Milam had parents who loved him, Jackson said they provided him with “nothing” to extend his life.
Because of Milam’s family history of heart problems, Jackson told the jury that Milam would, in all likelihood, face a short life span whether or not he’s sent to death row.
“He’ll be dead within five to seven years if you say the death penalty,” Jackson said. “Given the medical conditions (in prison), I don’t think he’ll live much after his mid-40s.”
Jackson said life without parole would confirm that the state’s criminal justice system works and is “good.”
“Otherwise, we would take Blaine Milam and hang him from the highest tree,” he said.
I’d also like to post some addition remarks by Texas Attorney General Prosecutor Lisa Tanner, from her closing statement. I found that her words really touched me, and forced me to feel the pain 13-month-old Amora Carson’s murder must have caused. Courtesy of the Tyler Morning Telegraph:
“I thought I had seen everything. I thought I had seen meanness and I even thought I had seen evil. I have stood before juries and told them they had seen the worst of the worst and I believed it at the time.” she said.
Hagan objected, saying Ms. Tanner was interjecting her own opinion into the case and not evidence.
Gossett sustained the objection and Ms. Tanner continued, saying the jurors should have never had to see what they had in the case, and Amora should never have had to endure what she did during her death.
“This is the worst of the worst. I can’t even fathom how it could ever get any worse,” she said.
Raising her voice and with her eyes red from tears, Ms Tanner asked how the jury could possibly find mitigating circumstances to sentence Milam to life.
Showing a photograph of Amora’s body Ms. Tanner asked, “What could possibly mitigate this? Or this?” she said, clicking to another photograph. “Or this, or this, or this? How can there really be any mitigating circumstances that could be sufficient for that? There isn’t.”
Some crimes cry out for the ultimate punishment. This is most certainly one of them. The cruel way that Jessica Carson and Blaine Milam beat and tortured little Amora to death can only be made right by taking the lives of these two animals in return.
You may also have noticed that Blaine Milam’s defense team attempted to play the mentally retarded card, and the substance abuse card too. Now I understand that there is a point where a person can be so mentally challenged that they are no longer responsible for their actions. It’s been proven both medically and legally, and I have no problem with that. But when talking about Blaine Milam, the court appointed psychiatrists decided it didn’t apply to him.
Of course, it didn’t stop his lawyers from trying. Fortunately the jury wasn’t mentally retarded, and didn’t buy into that nonsense.
But, as a recovering drug addict, I am always offended when a lawyer tried to claim that his client had substance abuse issues, and that they somehow mitigate his crimes.
Speaking from my own experience, I was just as aware of right and wrong under the influence as I was sober, and if I chose to do something illegal while I was stoned, it wasn’t any less wrong because of the effects of the drugs.
To me this is the ultimate cop out. People watch these idiot celebrities blame addictions to everything from coke and Oxycontin to sex for their legal and personal problems, and see how they get away with murder, and they think they can do the same. But out here on the real world, those same people usually find out that all those excuses will get you is a good laugh.
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