Jury rejects life sentence for man convicted in deaths of 3

(File Photo)

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A jury has recommended against a life sentence for a 33-year-old Evansville man found guilty but mentally ill of murder for starting a fire that killed three people.

The Evansville Courier & Press reports the jury found Tuesday that Christopher Compton did not intentionally kill a former girlfriend, her daughter and her grandfather in the 2014 fire. Compton was convicted Monday in the deaths of 28-year-old Keri Jones, 3-year-old Jazmine Jones, and 76-year-old Donald Lankford.

According to the newspaper, the judge must follow the jury’s recommendation per state law. Compton could get a sentence ranging from 45 to 195 years, depending on whether he’s ordered to serve sentencing terms concurrently or consecutively.

Defense attorney Stephen Owens argued for leniency based on Compton’s low intelligence, alcohol abuse and multiple mental health problems.

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