Sentencing of man convicted in Howland double murder to resume Wednesday

WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – Jurors were sequestered just before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night and did not make a decision on the punishment for Nasser Hamad.

Their cell phones were confiscated and TVs disconnected. Deliberations will resume Wednesday morning.

Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker reminded the jury during his last words to them that Hamad attempted to kill five people and was successful in taking the lives of two.

Prosecutors tried to reiterate why they believe a death sentence is appropriate in this case.

“He killed Josh Haber. He killed Josh Williams. He attempted to kill April Trent. He attempted to kill John Shivley. He attempted to kill Bryce Hendrickson. That’s 18 shots, attempting to kill five people,” said Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Mike Burnett.

Hamad’s defense team rehashed mitigating factors, including testimony about Hamad’s hard work, family dedication, and PTSD diagnosis. All factors they believe are circumstances that should spare him the death penalty.

“You are about to consider mercy. You know, based on who he is and what he’s done, that this terrible tragedy shouldn’t define him, totally. Should he be punished according to the law, yes,” said David Doughten, Hamad’s defense attorney.

The jury is tasked with weighing both the aggravating circumstances of the crime and the mitigating factors to come up with a punishment. The panel has a few options in the capital murder case: Life with parole after either 25 or 30 years, life with no parole, or the death penalty.

“The state position is that it is not even close. It just isn’t and that leaves you no other choice under the law but to go back to the jury room and find the death sentence appropriate,” Burnett said.

The decision from the jurors has to be unanimous. One juror could prevent the death penalty.

Hamad’s attorney, David Doughton, said his client’s life is worth saving.

“The legislature has provided each one of you with an incredible power. Each one of you individually has the ability to preserve life,” Doughton countered.

It took the jury less than two hours last week to find Hamad guilty of shooting and killing two people and hurting three others at his Howland home in February. The sentencing phase of the trial started Monday morning.