ORLANDO, Fla. — Jurors on Thursday afternoon recommended that an Orange County man convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend's 16-year-old daughter be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
In February, Sanel Saint Simon was convicted of kidnapping Alexandria Chery, killing her and dumping her body in the woods.
Saint Simon lied to investigators about Chery and led them to believe she was still alive, so they launched a search for her. Her body was discovered in July 2014 off a road near the Osceola-Polk county line.
An autopsy determined she was stabbed three times and had 11 skull fractures.
Saint Simon's attorneys said he was beaten as a child and grew up impoverished.
They said he made efforts to support his family back in Haiti after moving to the United Stated, adding that he had no prior criminal history before Chery's murder.
"Life in prison for Mr. Saint Simon is sufficient justice," defense attorney Erin Hyde said. "And you can be assured by what you've heard that he will not go to harm anyone else."
"A sentence of death is the verdict that renders justice under the law for the death of Alexandria Chery," assistant state attorney Ryan Williams said.
The death penalty would have required a unanimous vote. Saint Simon will be formally sentenced at a later date.
Watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News at 4 for reporter Field Sutton's comprehensive coverage of the case.
Cox Media Group