Russeau Sentenced To Death

More than a year after James Syvertson is found dead inside his Tyler business, a jury sentences his killer to death.

A panel of twelve jurors deliberated for an hour, before giving 34 year old Gregory Russeau  a sentence of death by lethal injection. The same jury convicted Russeau of the crime earlier this week. Both of their deliberations took less than an hour.

The defendant, Gregory Russeau, stayed calm while District Judge Cynthia Kent read his final sentence. Under state law, Russeau gets an automatic appeal sent to the Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin.

Before reading the verdict, Judge Kent told jurors they could exercise the option to give Russeau a lighter punishment. The court asked the panel to consider three special issues: Whether they thought Russeau was a permanent threat to society, whether he intentionally caused Syvertson's death, and whether they thought life in prison was more appropriate than death.

The jurors said yes to the first two questions, and no to the last. Assistant District Attorney Matt Bingham said jurors paid close attention to all the details, including Russeau's violent past.

"With his history of abuse, fighting, and his complete disrespect for the laws of society and the prison system, I think there's ample evidence for the jury to find a yes to the special interest questions, which this jury did."

During the final moments of his trial, Russeau faced his victim's family. Family members told the convicted killer his life is being taken for the one he took. They, then gave their condolences to his family.

"You cannot love somebody that just murdered your dad," said Jeanette Syvertson."And only God can give you that, so I started praying. If my dad was here, he'd say you've got to forgive."