ORLANDO, Fla. - A man convicted of killing his girlfriend's teenage daughter in Orange County will soon learn whether he will be sentenced to death.
A hearing began Monday for Sanel Saint Simon, who was convicted of murdering 16-year-old Alexandria Chery in 2014. Her body was found near the Osceola-Polk county line.
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Attorneys debated for weeks over what jurors will be allowed to hear at the sentencing hearing.
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 showa interviews with Saint Simon's friends and family.
"The question is: Is this case the worst of the worst? And I submit to you that it’s not," said Erin Hyde of the public defender's office.
Jurors must determine one aggravated factor beyond a reasonable doubt to suggest the death penalty.
The hearing is expected to last at least two days.
Witnesses give impact statements in Sanel St. Simon case. Mom of 16-year-old victim Alexandria Chery speaks first, says "For four years all I do is cry, my life has changed forever." #news6 — Sachelle Saunders (@SachelleOnAir) April 16, 2018
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