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Maricopa County jury to decide death penalty case

MESA – A Phoenix man convicted of murdering his 2-year-old daughter by setting her on fire in a desert area near Apache Junction says he’ll accept the death penalty if that’s what a jury decides.

Shawn Grell capped a three-month trial Tuesday with a speech to jurors, saying he was “extremely sorry” for what he did to his daughter Kristen Salem on Dec. 2, 1999.

The jury in Maricopa County Superior Court in Mesa is due to begin deliberating today (July 23) on whether the 34-year-old Grell should be given the death penalty.

If the jury decides against the death penalty, a judge is expected to sentence Grell to either a life sentence with no parole or life with a chance of parole after 25 years.

Grell was convicted in the case in 2001 and sentenced to death, but a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2002 found that Arizona’s system of judges sentencing defendants to death was unconstitutional.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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