JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The same Jackson County jury which convicted 39-year-old Scotty Street for the brutal stabbing death of retired teacher Frankie Fairley, failed to reach a unanimous verdict on the death penalty Thursday afternoon.
Judge Kathy King Jackson sentenced Street to life in prison without parole. The defendant's long history of severe mental illness was a factor in the jury sparing his life.
Testimony from two psychiatrists outlined Street's ongoing paranoid thinking and bizarre behaviors.
"Place trash bags on his head to keep his brain from frying. He was hearing children in his air conditioner, that he thought had somehow gotten in there," said forensic psychiatrist, Dr. John Montgomery.
District attorney Tony Lawrence conceded he mental illness, but told the jury Street still knew right from wrong when he stabbed Fairley repeatedly before dumping her in a field to die.
"And then she receives 36 more times, that metal object going into her body," he told the jury.
Defense attorney Kelsey Rushing focused on the defendant's chronic mental health troubles. He says without that, they wouldn't be here today.
"If you believe what you convicted him of, has something to do with what was happening in his brain, then you should come back with a sentence of life," Rushing told the jury.
After deliberating for some three hours, the jury could not reach a unanimous decision on the death penalty, leaving Judge Kathy Jackson the only other option - life without parole.
"I think the family is glad they finally got to hear a jury render a verdict of guilty for capital murder. They've been waiting for three years now for this, and I think they're glad it's done," said Lawrence.
Asked if he had any comment before he was sentenced, Street told the judge he apologized and feels bad about what happened.
"I'm just asking for mercy," said Street.