Cop's widow: Killer needs to be put to death

April 6, 2010 9:30:11 PM PDT
The widow of a murdered Houston police officer says the man who killed her husband should pay the ultimate price. A cop killer is now facing the death penalty, after being found guilty Tuesday afternoon. A Houston man is now facing the death penalty for killing Houston Police Officer Timothy Abernethy. His story changed several times, but in the end, the jury found Mabry Landor guilty of capital murder.

Having sat on a jury for a murder trial herself, Stephanie Abernethy, Officer Abernethy's widow, says she wasn't surprised that it took jurors three hours to reach a verdict. When it came to talking about the death penalty, she did not mince words.

For Stephanie Abernethy, the capital murder trial of convicted killer Landor has been a long and difficult emotional journey.

"I hope nobody has to go through that," she said. "It is hard to go through."

Abernethy admits talking about the death penalty isn't easy and got her thinking about Landor and his family. Even though he's a son and a father, justice, she believes, must be done. She called Landor soulless.

"He doesn't have a conscience -- not a good one anyway, that helps him to make good decisions," Abernethy said. "He makes bad decisions and they hurt people. So honestly, he needs to be put to death."

Landor ambushed, then shot and killed officer Abernethy during a foot chase through a northwest Houston apartment complex back in December 2008. While the wounded officer was down, Landor put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. Despite a mountain of evidence, Landor denied his involvement. After he confessed to police during a videotaped interview, Landor later changed his story and claimed he was coerced. Prosecutors called it a weak argument.

"The first story was I didn't do it. The second story was I did it but it was an accident," explained Harris County Assistant District Attorney Denise Bradley. "Of course then the third story after seeing all the physical evidence proving that it wasn't an accident, well, then, somebody else must have done it."

Stephanie thanked the jury, the eyewitnesses who came forward and the scores of officers who stood by her side throughout this trial.

Landor's sister told Eyewitness News she didn't want to speak about the verdict.

Jurors will begin hearing the punishment phase Wednesday morning.


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