A South Carolina man has been found guilty of killing his 8-year-old stepdaughter.
A jury found Ricky Lee Blackwell, 55, guilty of kidnapping and murder on Wednesday after deliberating for 20 minutes.
Blackwell, of Chesnee, invited his ex-wife Angela Davis over to his trailer on July 8, 2009. He told Davis to bring his step-daughter, Heather Brooke Center, so she could swim.
After 27 years of marriage, Davis separated from Blackwell 18 months earlier and was now with Heather’s father, Bobby Center.
Angry over the separation, when they arrived, Blackwell grabbed Heather and put a .357 Magnum revolver to her head.
Davis says she asked Blackwell to take her instead of the child, shouting, “let her go Ricky, please it's me you want, take me.”
Davis bought the gun for Blackwell as a present during their marriage.
She testified that Blackwell responded, “You've pushed this too far. You did this and you tell me what Bobby thinks of this. Then the gun went off and it went off again.”
He shot the 8-year-old four times at point-blank range.
Police arrived five minutes later, according to Master Deputy Bill Meyer of the Spartanburg County Sheriff's office.
Blackwell ran a short distance from the trailer into the woods. Deputies told him to drop his weapon, but instead he shot himself once in the side. It is unclear whether it was a failed attempt at suicide.
Blackwell’s attorney told the court that his mental state must be considered and that Blackwell shouldn’t be judged based on what happened in those six seconds. Psychologists testified earlier this year that Blackwell's mental capacity is high enough for him to face the death penalty.