An Alabama man accused of killing his two young children four years after their remains were found in garbage bags has been convicted of capital murder and now faces a death sentence.
John DeBlase, 31, who was accused of torturing and poisoning his two children with antifreeze and strangling them to death in 2010, was found guilty on three counts of capital murder by a Mobile jury Wednesday afternoon.
After a 10-day trial for the murder of Natalie, 5, and Chase, 3, DeBlase had no reaction to the jury’s unanimous verdict when it was read, according to the Press-Register.
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(via New York Daily News)
DeBlase’s common-law wife, Heather Leavell-Keaton, also faces murder charges and her trial is set to begin in March 2015.
Prosecutors claim both parents poisoned their children’s food after fantasizing about a life on their own, the New York Daily News reports.
During DeBlase’s trial, a detective testified that Natalie had suffered months of abuse and died first on March 4, 2010.
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Her younger brother Chase died on or around June 20. He was put in a bag and buried in the woods north of Vancleave, Miss., on Dec. 8, 2010, two days before Natalie’s body was found near Citronelle, Ala.
According to Fox10 News, DeBlase’s father Richard wrote the following statement Wednesday night on his Facebook page, blaming Leavell-Keaton for taking his son “down a road to destruction”:
To our friends and family and others, we have many challenges in life I am sorry to say my son has chosen the easy path and now he must pay for this decision. Heather took him down a road to destruction. Heather showered John with gifts and attention. I am disappointed with the decision made by the jurors. Being stupid ? Should not constitute a death sentence. I truly believe John did not kill his children. I take blame for not working harder to find out what was happening to my grandchildren. I will live with this the rest of my life. Natalie, Chase forgive me may you rest in peace knowing you will always be in our hearts. Remember what you said to me (Natalie) you have a little heart and I have a big heart but you love me as much as my big heart. – Richard DeBlase
Jurors were scheduled to hear testimony Thursday morning before deciding whether or not he’ll die by lethal injection or spend the rest of his life in prison.
Image Credit: Michael Dumas/AL.com