Judge upholds life sentence for 2013 Huntsville church murders

Published: Aug. 22, 2017 at 10:20 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2017 at 11:16 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - On Tuesday, a Madison County judge upheld a jury's decision to put the man behind an infamous Huntsville double murder in prison for the rest of his life with no chance of getting out.

In 2013, Anthony and Terry Jackson were brutally stabbed and beaten to death in a west Huntsville church. A jury found Richard Burgin guilty of capital murder in March.

READ MORE: Jury recommends life without parole for 2013 Huntsville church murders

The judge said the crime was especially heinous, atrocious and cruel beyond belief and agreed with what the 12 jurors found earlier this year.

Prosecutors pressed the issue about good versus evil, saying the Jackson brothers were pillars of the community and considered saints of west Huntsville, while Burgin lived a life of crime, violence and abuse.

The defense spoke about Burgin's past, saying he has struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and mental illness for decades.

For the first time, the judge heard from the Jackson family. A first cousin pleaded for Burgin to get the death penalty, saying that he robbed their family of two wonderful people and how much they meant to them.

While state prosecutors were a bit disappointed in the outcome, they respect the judge's decision and are glad Burgin will never breathe free air.

"Things I wanted to make clear to the court,that's why we were seeking the death penalty because what he did to snuff out two men that spent their lives serving other people, we felt that alone justified the death penalty," said Madison County Assistant District Attorney Tim Gann.

"He didn't really say anything. He just let out a sigh," said Chad Morgan, Burgin's attorney. "I think it was a sigh of relief for everybody. This was a long, these cases are long, they're emotional, they're physically draining on everybody, not just the lawyers. But the intensity that he showed, he was very active in his defense."

The assistant district attorney added the food pantry program the brothers died working for no longer exists. It closed after the brothers were murdered.

Burgin has 42 days to appeal the sentencing.

READ MORE: Suspect arrested 1 year after brothers found dead in church

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