The jury took a little over an hour Friday to reach the ultimate sentence for murder.
“Death,” District Judge Douglas Herndon read.
The culmination of the three-week trial was summarized in one word that fell on a hushed Las Vegas courtroom.
Keith Barlow, 63, who was convicted last week in the shooting deaths of his ex-girlfriend, Danielle Woods, and her new boyfriend, Donnie Cobb, sat unmoving, his black, rectangular glasses sitting on his nose, his fingers cupping his chin.
Silently, the Las Vegas man stood up and waved to his family behind him. Tears streamed down their cheeks. His sister waved back.
Prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo expressed gratitude after the verdict.
“We’re very grateful for the jury to decide that Mr. Barlow had done enough in his life to earn him the ultimate punishment,” he said.
Earlier, jurors heard closing arguments from prosecutors and defense attorneys.
“This is not rocket science,” Barlow’s attorney, Alzora Jackson, told the jurors. “Keith is a problem, and we have freely admitted a lot of the difficulties that he’s had.”
She asked jurors to consider giving him the lesser sentence of life without parole.
“You have given them their justice. You’ve convicted him. He’s not getting away with anything,” she said. “When has he ever gotten away with anything?”
Barlow was honorably discharged from the Army before he fell into addiction and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder while in prison, attorneys said. He’d attempted suicide in 1986 and had sought help for his mental illness from veterans facilities and Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services.
Barlow’s sister, Linda Abercrombie, testified Friday that their dad was abusive toward their mother and had fathered three children with a second family he had in Alabama.
She detailed the moment she and her two younger siblings defended their mother when their father had her in a headlock.
Barlow jumped on his back, Abercrombie hit him, and their youngest sister was on his leg, biting him.
“Do you think Keith was angry?” Jackson asked.
“Absolutely,” she answered. “My father was hitting him, and Keith hit him back,” she testified.
Barlow also was bullied as a child, she said, so much so that one day he was kicked in the groin by a boy in the neighborhood.
“His crotch was full of blood,” she testified.
Shortly after the incident, Barlow went into a psychiatric hospital for adolescents.
“He just became combative, out of control, difficult to manage,” his sister said.
DiGiacomo urged jurors to choose capital punishment, citing a history of domestic violence against Woods dating back to 1997. His criminal history also showed a pattern of abuse that continued even after he was released from prison in the past , he said.
“He tried to kill four people and was successful with two. That’s who Mr. Barlow is. So when you go back there, ask yourself what is justice for someone like that,” DiGiacomo asked jurors.
In February 2013, Woods called police after Barlow put a stun gun to her neck in an alley near the apartment she shared with Cobb. Two hours later, officers were back at the apartment, where Woods, 37, and Cobb, 40, had been shot dead.
Throughout the trial, Woods’ sister, nieces and best friend, Gloria Slack, had supported her.
“She was the glue to our family,” Woods’ sister, Elise Richard, said. “All of that’s destroyed thanks to Keith Barlow.”
Richard described Woods as a beautiful person, one of 12 children, the youngest of six girls. Independence Day was her favorite holiday, she said of her sister, who worked as a personal care attendant.
Richard said she hoped the death penalty would bring peace to both victims.
“We want to apologize to Donnie,” she said. “He lost his life because he loved somebody. It’s not just about Danielle. It’s about Donnie Cobb.”
Contact Briana Erickson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5244.
Capital punishment in Nevada
Nevada’s last execution took place in April 2006. The execution of Scott Dozier, who has waived his appeals, is scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday at Ely State Prison.