Wilbanks sentenced to death for 2013 murder of Ole Miss student - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Wilbanks sentenced to death for 2013 murder of Ole Miss student

Zach McClendon of Gulfport was shot to death in December 2013 while he was a student at Ole Miss. (Source: WLOX) Zach McClendon of Gulfport was shot to death in December 2013 while he was a student at Ole Miss. (Source: WLOX)
Steven Wilbanks was given the death sentence for the murder of Ole Miss student Zach McClendon. (Source: WMC) Steven Wilbanks was given the death sentence for the murder of Ole Miss student Zach McClendon. (Source: WMC)
OXFORD, MS (AP/WLOX) -

A 12-person jury has sentenced Steven "Matt" Wilbanks to the death penalty for the murder of former Ole Miss student Zacharias Hercules McClendon in 2013. 

The jury found Wilbanks guilty of capital murder on Tuesday following witness testimony, according to WTVA

The sentencing phase of the trial began on Wednesday, when it was extended an extra day for further deliberation.  

Inside the courtroom, Wilbanks showed minimal emotion as the final sentence was read. However, officials remind the public that the focus on of the case should remain on the victim that was tragically killed.

District Attorney Ben Creekmore declared, "This case is not about the defendant. This case was about the victim. The son of Percy and Paula. The case is about a brilliant young man. Not the defendant who committed a horrible crime."

The state says Wilbanks, along with Joseph Lyons and Derrick Boone, entered McClendon's apartment on Dec. 18, 2013, and shot him in the back of the head with a 16-gauge shotgun while McClendon was washing dishes.

On Monday, jurors were presented with an audio clip in which Wilbanks admitted to shooting McClendon with the $8 gun he bought at a Hattiesburg gun show so he could steal from McClendon.

Lyons and Boone have already pleaded guilty under a deal that gave them life sentences. Reports show that Wilbanks was not offered a plea deal.

Wilbanks will be held at the Mississippi State Prison in Parchman, the only maximum security prison for men in the state, where he will sit on death row. 

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