Gwathney sentenced to life in prison - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Gwathney sentenced to life in prison

A day after his conviction, jurors re-convened Thursday to argue if Gordon Randal Gwathney should get the death penalty.  But before the hearing ever began, the judge dismissed the jury. 

Overnight, the family of Gwathney's victims had a change of heart, and decided to waive the death penalty. 

"We're not going to have a judgement phase," the judge said.

Instead, Gwathney was given three consecutive life sentences.  Lisa Reeves, whose mother was killed by Gwathney, said it was enough.

"His life as he knows it, as he's ever known it, is over," she said. "He will be in a very small cell, and not allowed to drive or do what he wants when he wants, watch what he wants, so yeah, that, justice has been served."

With the life sentences, Gwathney faces no possibility of parole.

"People on death row today just stay there," said Hollis Mitchell, whose parents were killed by Gwathney.  "I think it's more appropriate punishment to be in maximum security."

Gwathney was convicted of killing his mother-in-law, Sylvia Reeves, along with her parents J.O. Mitchell and Evelyn Mitchell.

Their son, Hollis, said he still misses his family, but he also still loves Gwatheny's parents, Arnold and Bobbi Jo.

"We don't want to harm them or disrespect or be hurtful to them," he said.

From the very beginning, prosecutors sought the death penalty.

"If you're never faced with it, you have a totally different idea about what you would do," Lisa Reeves said. "But then suddenly, if you're involved in it, you have a different feeling about it."

In the end, though, the victims' family just couldn't carry through.

Jurors also convicted Gwathney of one count of attempted capital murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder.

He was also convicted of attempted capital murder for shooting at brother-in-law Travis Reeves and attempted first-degree murder for shooting at then-sheriff's deputy Tracy Jackson.

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