Landrum’s life spared

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Though Michael Landrum was found guilty on all four counts he will be allowed to live. The jury passed their verdict Saturday afternoon creating an emotional scene by drawing tears from Landrum and his entire family. However, Monday the jury decided to advise the court let Landrum live. Landrum was convicted of capital charges including two counts of capital murder during a burglary, capital murder of a child and one count of capital murder of two or more people. Landrum will serve a life sentence for each charge.

Landrum survived a close vote with seven jurors voting for life sentences and five voting for death by lethal injection. Several members of Landrum’s family came forward to ask the jury to spare his life including his older brother Roosevelt Landrum Jr. Roosevelt asked the jury to consider how good Landrum has been to the people of his community.

“He has always been a good person and caring of everyone,” Roosevelt said. “He has always been willing to give of himself.”

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Roosevelt said his brother has been accused of showing little emotion in the case, but that is just his personality.

“He has been accused of being cold hearted,” Roosevelt said. “That is because he hides his emotions until he is by himself. He is a very emotional person”

Roosevelt also pointed out Landrum has been an asset to society to this point and could still make a difference if his life was spared

“He has been a model parent as well as a husband,” Roosevelt said. “Whatever he can do to help us he does it. He can still contribute to society. He can teach Bible classes in the penitentiary and help a lot of people”

Roosevelt added he and his brother were very close and asked the jury not to take him away.

“I love my brother,” Roosevelt said. “We are a very close family. I know he did not do this, but we respect your decision. Please spare my brothers life.”

Landrum himself was also given one last chance to plead for his life to the jury.

“I am an innocent man, but I respect your decision,” Landrum said. “I am asking you to please let me live. The families of the victims are not the only victims here. I lost a child.”

Landrum said children have always been his passion and he could never inflict pain on one, especially his own.

“All my life I have loved kids,” Landrum said. “I would never shed any blood especially not the blood of my own. Mikayla was my blood.”

Landrum said he has faith there is a higher purpose for him if he is given the chance. He said he would dedicate his life to helping others in the prison system.

“God has told me to have faith and have trust and I will remember you,” Landrum said. “If you spare me my life I can make a difference in the environment of the penitentiary you put me in.”

He finished by asking the jury to have mercy on his family and consider all they have been through.

“My family has suffered enough,” Landrum said. “I love my wife and I love my kids. All I’ve done is try to help people.”

Martina Landrum, Michael’s daughter, delivered a teary plea to the jury to spare her fathers life. She said Landrum has always gone out of his way to help her and she needed him to continue to be there.

“He has been a great daddy,” Martina said. “He has always been there for me and given me encouraging words. I love my daddy.

I need my daddy. Please don’t take my daddy away from me.”

Landrum’s son Anthony took the stand as well to ask the jury to spare his fathers life.

“He is my best friend,” Anthony said. “I love my dad very much. Please, please, please spare my daddy’s life.”

Landrum’s defense team presented several arguments to the jury as to why Landrum could still be a productive person. John Williams, who was part of Landrum’s defense team, also asked the jury to let him live. Williams said in his 12 years of practicing law he has never been more convinced a man did not deserve to die.

“Michael Landrum is not the type of person who deserves to be executed,” Williams said. “We know we can’t look back on your decision. Now we are here and that man is not the type of man who should be on death row.”

Williams said Landrum has entirely too much to offer to be executed.

“The death penalty is for people who have no redeeming qualities,” Williams said. “That is not what we have here. Michael’s family needs him. His son needs him. What purpose would it serve to kill him?”

District Attorney Greg Griggers argued Landrum should have his life taken just like the victims in the case. Griggers said the nature of the slayings and the suffering of the Little family were reason enough to put Landrum to death.

“There are a lot of victims as a result of this decision besides Ida and Mikayla,” Griggers said. “These are cruel and heinous crimes and are cruel and heinous compared to anything you have ever heard or seen.”

Griggers asked the jury to think about the terror young Mikayla must have felt in her final moments.

“Consider what went through the mind of three year old Mikayla as she lay down on her grandmother in the only safe place she knew to go,” Griggers said. “They didn’t get a chance to beg for their life.”

One of Griggers’ main arguments was the nature of the murders. Griggers said the only motivation was to keep Landrum living the lie he had been engaged in for so many years.

“We are here today because this man decided his double life was more important than the life of Mikayla,” Griggers said. “In that decision Ida became a casualty.”

The prosecutions argument was short and to the point. Griggers asked only one witness to come to the stand to argue his case. Shirley Williams, the sister of Ida Little and aunt to Mikayla asked the jury to end Landrum’s life and put the nightmare behind them.

“I feel anger and I feel hate that are unimaginable unless you have ever stood in the shoes we have,” Williams said. “It seems as if it was only yesterday I heard Ida laugh and saw Mikayla playing on the trampoline in my yard. Now all we have are the memories and two gravesites.”

In the end the arguments to preserve Landrum’s life were sound enough to pull him through. Landrum will spend the rest of his life in prison.