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Ill. Jury Decides No Death Penalty

June 23, 1998

WHEATON, Ill. (AP) _ A jury decided Monday that a man should not get the death penalty for killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and two of her children, and cutting his nearly full-term son from her womb.

The same panel that convicted Levern Ward deliberated more than three hours before recommending life in prison for the 26-year-old man.

Before deliberations began, Ward took the witness stand Monday to deny taking part in the crimes.

In closing arguments, defense attorney Earl Washington appealed to the jurors to ``vote for life.″

Prosecutor Jeff Kendell said the ``cold, calculated manner of the deaths″ called for the death penalty.

Ward, 26, was found guilty June 12 of killing Debra Evans, 26, her daughter, Samantha, 10, and her son, Joshua, 7.

He was also convicted of kidnapping the baby and Joshua, who was killed a day later. The baby survived and is being cared for by Evans’ father.

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