ORLANDO, Fla. – A jury recommend a sentence of life in prison Thursday afternoon for a man convicted of killing his girlfriend's teenage daughter in 2014.
The jury recommended a sentence of life in prison, instead of death, for Sanel Saint Simon. He was convicted in February of murdering 16-year-old Alexandria Chery. Her body was found near the Osceola-Polk county line.
The jury based their decision on several factors including if the murder was cold and calculated and especially heinous. They said the state had not proved those aggravators beyond a reasonable doubt before recommending life in prison for Saint Simon.
Saint Simon will officially be sentenced in May.
Witnesses gave impact statements Monday morning, and Chery's mother said, "For four years, all I do is cry. My life has changed forever."
The victim's former boyfriend also testified in court Monday, recalling what he said Chery confessed to him before she died.
"I had to keep asking her what was wrong and eventually she told me she was being bothered. She told me every time he touched her. It was numerous occasions, maybe about four times," Damian Thomas said.
The defense claims Saint Simon has good character and urged jurors not to vote for the death penalty.
The defense also used video testimony from Haiti that showed interviews with Saint Simon's friends and family.