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Jury Recommends Death Sentence for Friend/Lecco

By: Mike Waterhouse & Associated Press Email
By: Mike Waterhouse & Associated Press Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A federal jury has returned the death penalty for two Mingo County residents who were convicted of murdering a drug informant.

Jurors received the case last week, but took a break over the Memorial Day holiday.

They returned to the federal courthouse in Charleston today and issued their verdicts against George Lecco and Valerie Friend shortly after noon.

Prosecutors allege Friend shot and beat 33-year-old Carla Collins to death on orders from Lecco.

Lecco was accused of targeting the single mother to protect a cocaine ring he ran out of a drive-thru pizza parlor.

The two will be sentenced August 23rd in Charleston.

West Virginia abolished capital punishment for state crimes in 1965, but it remains an option in federal cases.

The last West Virginia death sentence was carried out in 1959, when 43-year-old Elmer Bruner was electrocuted for beating a Huntington contractor's wife to death.

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