AUSTIN (KXAN) - Closing arguments in the punishment phase of the Areli Escobar trial, will likely be put off until Friday, then the jury will have to decide whether to sentence him to death.
Escobar, 32, was convicted Friday of capital murder in the stabbing death and rape of 17-year-old mother Bianca Maldonado. Jurors deliberated on two hours before handing down the verdict. The jury can either sentenced him to death or to life in prison without parole.
Escobar broke into Maldonado's Decker Lane apartment while she and her then-1-year-old son were home alone on May 31, 2009. The baby was hurt in the attack but survived.
Escobar's friends and family testified Wednesday that Areli was a good father, brother, and family man as the defense tried to show the jury a death sentence would impact more than just one life.
A forensic scientist and department of corrections personnel also testified about Escobar's mental state and the future he faces either on death row or in general population.
The criteria for a death sentence states an inmate must be deemed a threat to commit future violence in the prison population and there be no mitigating factors justifying a sentence of life in prison.
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