Jamaican Leeton Thomas Faces Death Penalty in the US

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JURORS IN THE UNITED STATES HAVE HEARD an emotional plea from the mother of a Jamaican man facing a possible death penalty in the stabbing murders of a Pennsylvania woman and her 16-year-old daughter.

The Lancaster County jury convicted 40-year-old Leeton Thomas of first-degree murder Tuesday in the June 2015 slayings of 44-year-old Lisa Sheetz and her daughter Hailey. Authorities said they were scheduled to testify against him in a child sex assault case.

LNP newspaper said jurors hearing testimony Wednesday on whether Thomas should be sentenced to death or life in prison without possibility of parole heard the defendant's mother beg them to spare her son's life, saying "please save him".

Defence attorneys also plan to cite mitigating factors such as poverty and abuse they say Thomas endured growing up in Jamaica.

Thomas, who had permanent resident status in the United States, is a former construction worker and home remodeler. He turned 40 on Tuesday.

Lancaster County prosecutors earlier said they would seek capital punishment against him.

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