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Jury to Decide Escaped Convicts Fate

January 28, 2002

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DALLAS (AP) _ Prosecutors say convicted killer Donald Newbury is a career criminal who was a disciplinary problem in prison. Defense attorneys say he is a caring family man who saved his wife and stepchildren from a life of crime and drugs.

On Monday, a jury was scheduled to hear closing arguments in the penalty phase of Newbury’s capital murder trial. He faces the death penalty or life in prison.

The former escaped convict is one of seven violent felons accused in the killing of police Officer Aubrey Hawkins, 29, during an armed robbery of a sporting goods store on Christmas Eve 2000. Hawkins was hit 11 times by bullets from five weapons and run over by his squad car.

Newbury, who declined to testify, was convicted in less than an hour Friday.

Newbury’s lawyers portrayed him as a caring family man.

His wife of nearly eight years, Jacqueline Newbury, said he provided for the family financially and emotionally.

``Had it not been for Donald, I’d probably be a junkie right now,″ she said.

Prosecutors, who rested their case on Thursday, said the 39-year-old is a career criminal.

Newbury was serving his third jail sentence for armed robbery when he broke out of the Connally Unit with six other inmates on Dec. 13, 2000. Six were caught the next month in Colorado and the seventh killed himself rather than surrender.

Newbury is the second of the six former escaped convicts to be tried in the murder. Confessed ringleader George Rivas was convicted and sentenced to death in August.

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