A central Pennsylvania man is facing a death sentence following his conviction in the 2020 murders of two women with whom he had been romantically involved, one of whom was pregnant.
Jurors in Cumberland County announced Tuesday their decision that 27-year-old Davone Unique Anderson deserved capital punishment after he was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree murder of an unborn child as well as child endangerment, PennLive.com reported.
Authorities alleged that Anderson killed 23-year-old Sydney Parmelee in Carlisle on July 5, 2020, because he believed she was cheating on him. They allege he then killed 23-year-old Kaylee Lyons, who was six weeks pregnant, at the same home on July 30, 2020, because he feared she would tell police about the earlier slaying.
Jurors deliberated for almost four hours before deciding on a death sentence for Anderson in the slaying of Lyons. But they deadlocked on the death sentence in the killing of Parmelee, which resulted in the judge imposing a life term without parole on that charge. The judge will formally impose the sentence May 31.
Prosecutors said the defendant had been involved with both women and had fathered children with both of them. District Attorney Sean McCormack credited the efforts of jurors, telling WHTM-TV that he appreciated that “to return a verdict of death is no simple task.” Earlier, he hailed the convictions after the guilty verdict.
“It has been almost two years since these two young mothers were murdered leaving three very young children motherless," he said. “Their families are relieved that the man who killed them has been found guilty.”
Defense attorneys acknowledged that their client committed both slayings but cited the difficult life he led. Louise Luck, a mitigation specialist with Court Consultation Services, said he grew up at the mercy of abusive or absent family members.
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“How we are raised affects how we raise our children,” Luck said on Monday. “This by no means attempts to excuse his behavior. It just explains his life story. He was suppressing everything.”
The state has executed three people since resuming the use of the death penalty in 1978. Gov. Tom Wolf, who leaves office in January, imposed a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in February 2015.