FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — Convicted killer Peter Avsenew sat alone at the defense table.
He fired his attorney and is now representing himself as a jury decides if he will live or be executed for killing partners of 29 years Steve Adams and Kevin Powell.
The judge was making sure he’s certain of his decision.
“Are you sure you don’t want counsel,” asked Circuit Court Judge Ilona Holmes,
“100 percent,” Avsenew responded.
Jurors heard from Steve’s sister Marci Craig.
“We have never faced such a horrific tragedy in our lives,” she said tearfully, “and never in a million years would have thought this could happen to our family, but it did.”
Prosecutors want the jury to recommend a death sentence.
Avsenew was convicted of shooting both men in their Wilton Manors home just before Christmas in 2010.
He met them from a Craig’s list ad. After the killings, he used their credit cards and took their car.
On the stand, Steve’s sister said despite immense grief their father forgave Avesenew in his final days.
“Our dad passed away in 2015,” Craig said.”But he did forgive Peter, who he never met or never knew, but he forgave him before he died.”
Kevin’s stepsister, Laura Allen-Wade, took the stand too.
“It is difficult to condense the 47 years of my brother’s life and the impact of those who loved him into just a few pages,” she told the jury as she read her victim impact statement.
She let jurors know her brother overcame a double organ transplant just months before his murder.
“I didn’t want to believe that someone could kill Kevin and Steve knowing how much they had been through,” she said, “and knowing they finally had been given a chance to plan a future and follow their dreams again.”
Both the state and defense rested with Avsenew deciding not to put on a case.
“I don’t need to present anything. I’m going to make a closing argument,” Avensew told the judge.
Avensew does plan to make a brief closing argument Thursday before the case goes to the jury.
For a death penalty recommendation, the jury’s decision must be unanimous.