Jury sentences Bpt. man to death for ordering killing

(AP) - A jury recommended the death penaltyMonday for a former drug dealer who ordered the killings of an8-year-old boy and his mother in 1999.

Russell Peeler Jr. was convicted in 2000 of ordering his youngerbrother to kill Karen Clarke and her son, Leroy "B.J." Brown Jr.,in their Bridgeport duplex. The boy was expected to be the keywitness against Peeler in the fatal shooting of Clarke's boyfriend.

"We're very pleased," prosecutor Jonathan Benedict said."It's a sobering thought. It was a tough case. I really appreciatethe jury."

Peeler will be sentenced Dec. 8. He will be the ninth person onConnecticut's death row.

The six men and six women on the jury have been deliberatingsince Wednesday in Superior Court in Bridgeport.

Peeler has been in prison since his arrest a few weeks after thekillings and was convicted in 2000 of capital felony.

A previous jury deadlocked on the death penalty. Peeler'sbrother, Adrian, was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder,despite being the accused shooter. Adrian Peeler was sentenced to20 years in prison.

"Russell was the engineer of the entire thing," Benedict said."But for Russell it wouldn't have happened."

Related Information:Jurygets case in Peeler death penalty trialDeathpenalty looms for convicted murdererJuryset for Peeler sentencing in Bridgeport

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