A South Dakota judge sentenced a man who killed a woman as part of a plot to assassinate President Barack Obama to death on Tuesday.
The hearing formalized a unanimous vote of a jury to sentence 44-year-old James McVay to death.
McVay would have been sentenced to life in prison without parole if the jury’s decision had not been unanimous.
McVay pleaded guilty, but mentally ill, to murder in the 2011 stabbing of 75-year-old Maybelle Schein. McVay said he killed Schein and stole her car as part of his plan to drive to Washington and kill the president. He was later arrested in Madison, Wisconsin.
Schein’s family declined to speak during the hearing. Prosecutors, McVay and his defense team also did not comment.
The South Dakota Supreme Court will automatically review McVay’s sentence. During the review, justices will determine whether the sentence was affected by passion, prejudice or any other arbitrary factor, whether the evidence supports the finding of a judge or jury of a statutory aggravating circumstance and whether the sentence of death is out of line with the penalty imposed on other similar cases.
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