Just two weeks after the people of California voted to retain the death penalty, we have a prime example of why that was the correct decision. Demian Bulwa reports for the SF Chron:
An infuriated jury handed down the death penalty Tuesday for an unrepentant killer who gunned down his ex-girlfriend and her male friend at the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge toll plaza three years ago and then spent his trial laughing and cursing his victims.
The verdict prompted a final outburst by 49-year-old Nathan Burris, who turned in his chair and shouted profanities at family members of the victims - "They ain't coming back," he said - before bailiffs handcuffed him and led him out of the Martinez courtroom.
Afterward, those family members expressed relief that the trial was over and said Burris' cruel words no longer fazed them.
One juror said she wished Burris - who represented himself - could be put on a "fast track" toward execution.
"We thought death was too good for him," said the juror, a stay-at-home mother from Walnut Creek who declined to give her name. "We wanted to hurt him like he hurt other people. ... We wished there was an option of forcing him to break up rocks in Arizona for the rest of his life."
Jane Walker, whose younger sister was slain, said she used to be against capital punishment - until Burris' behavior changed her mind.
"I can never forgive him, I hate him and I'm glad they gave him the death penalty," said Walker, a 66-year-old Oakland resident. "He wanted people to think he's a bad ass, but he's not that. He did this out of jealousy and rage."
Burris used a shotgun Aug. 11, 2009, to kill bridge toll-taker Deborah Ross, 51, who had decided to leave him after a 13-year relationship, and her friend Ersie "Chuckie" Everette, 58, a Golden Gate Transit driver who was courting her and was visiting her at the Richmond toll plaza.