Steve Boggs told a jury that condemned him to death Thursday that he was innocent of killing three Jack in the Box employees in Mesa, but he had done things for which he’d never been caught.
"This is karma’s way of catching up to me," Boggs, 26, said in Maricopa County Superior Court.
The jury of 11 women and one man took less than two hours to decide Boggs should be executed for the May 19, 2002, deaths of Kenneth Brown, 27, Beatriz Alvarado, 31, and Fausto Jimenez, 31.
Half the jurors wept as the verdicts were read, and Boggs sat with his fist propping up his chin, smiling occasionally.
"It was difficult for everyone in the courtroom except him," said Ted Duffy, a deputy county attorney.
Boggs’ co-defendant, Christopher Hargrave, 24, could face the death penalty, but his trial has been postponed indefinitely because he got a new attorney.
Prosecutors say the murders were committed to eliminate witnesses to a robbery.
Hargrave was fired from the restaurant a few days before the late-night killings at 2846 E. Main St. for coming up short on his cash drawer.
The two men, founders of a four-member, white supremacist militia, were hoping to get thousands of dollars from the robbery but came up with less than $300, prosecutors said.
Boggs has blamed Hargrave, confessed and maintained his innocence at various times.
"I’ll tell you this, I’ve made my bed and now I have to lie in it," he said to jurors. "Do what you 12 need to do."
His attorneys tried to persuade jurors against voting for the death penalty by presenting three days of testimony about his mental illness, which led to his being institutionalized much of his childhood.
"Do you want to send a mentally ill man to death row?" defense attorney Nathaniel Carr asked.
Boggs told jurors he doesn’t know and doesn’t care whether he is mentally ill.
Brown’s father, Leon Spencer of New Mexico, said he had no doubt Boggs would get the death penalty.