Jury recommends James Worley receive death penalty

Jury recommends James Worley receive death penalty

FULTON COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - After deliberating for nearly six hours, the jury has recommended James Worley to receive the death penalty. It is now up to the Honorable Jeffrey Robinson to either agree with the jury's sentence or to decide a different fate for Worley during the sentencing on April 18.

Worley was found guilty last week of kidnapping and murdering 20-year-old Sierah Joughin.

In addition to the death penalty, Worley was also up for life in prison without parole, life with a chance of parole in 30 years or life with a chance of parole in 25 years.

Worley's sentencing comes nearly two years after Sierah's death.

Tears, gasps, and hugs as the family of Sierah Joughin heard the jury recommendation of the death penalty.

The Honorable Jeffrey Robinson asked the jury for its recommendation. After the death penalty decision, he polled each one: Four men and eight women.

It was a show of purple with Sierah Joughin's loved ones wearing her favorite color as they have every day of this four week trial.

Her uncle saying Sierah's family had been put in the worst position, having to bury a young woman with her life ahead of her and grieve h?er.

"We're not a family who would wish for this but we feel the jury reached an appropriate verdict," Sierah's uncle Howard Ice said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the jury heard from witnesses including Worley's older sister, friends and a criminal psychologist for insight into his mind and his past.

The defense team trying to convince the jury to spare Worley's life after being convicted on all 19 counts for the murder of Sierah Joughin.

"So I consider putting him there," Defense Attorney Mark Berling said. "So he thinks about this every day for the rest of his life until he dies in prison."

But the prosecution argued Worley was in his right mind and tried to cover up his crime. He must get the death penalty.

The jury, siding with the prosecution Wednesday and helping the family inch closer to Justice for Sierah.

On July 19, 2016, Sierah disappeared after she and her boyfriend parted ways after a bike ride. Her bike was found the next day in a cornfield as law enforcement and volunteers searched for her.

On July 22, a barn was searched at Worley's residence on County Road 6, about two miles where Sierah's bike was found. Worley was arrested that day and charged with one count of abduction.

Worley would go on to be found guilty of 17 charges including murder, kidnapping and aggravated murder as Sierah's body was found in a shallow grave just miles from Worley's home the day he was arrested.

This was not the first time Worley has attempted something like this. He was also involved in a kidnapping case from 1990.

According to court documents, a 26-year-old woman was riding her bike on a rural road near Whitehouse when Worley hit her with his truck and tried to abduct her. The woman was able to get away, and she testified against Worley during the trial of The People vs. James Worley.

Worley's sentencing closes a tragic chapter in the lives of Sierah's family and friends, and will hopefully open a new one of healing and justice for Sierah.

Follow WTOL:  

Download our app here

Copyright 2018 WTOL. All rights reserved.