YOUNGSTOWN Killer asks jury for mercy

Deliberations continue today.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Anthony Anderson told jurors they made a mistake by finding him guilty last week of gunning down a pregnant woman and her children.
Then he asked them for mercy.
"My life is in your hands," Anderson, 24, of Kenneth Street, told the jury Monday morning in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
The same jury convicted him Wednesday of three counts of aggravated murder and single counts of attempted aggravated murder and aggravated robbery.
He killed LaShawnda Aziz and her 4-year-old son, DeShun Moreland, during a robbery at their Lansdowne Boulevard home in November 1998. Aziz was pregnant and her death caused the pregnancy to be terminated, which is the reason for the third aggravated murder charge.
Aziz's daughter, Brea Aziz, was shot in the face and neck during the robbery but survived. She was 3 at the time.
Statement: Anderson made a brief statement to the jury before it began deliberating whether to recommend the death penalty or life in prison about 2 p.m. Monday. The judge sent the panel home just before 7 p.m., and it was to resume deliberations at 9 a.m. today.
He expressed remorse to his own family and sympathy to the Aziz family, who did not look at him as he spoke.
"I've made a lot of mistakes in my past, but I did not commit these crimes," Anderson said. Speaking in a barely audible voice, he stood at the defense table to make his statement rather than sitting on the witness stand.
Under Ohio law, defendants in capital murder cases can make such a statement without taking an oath to tell the truth, as other witnesses are required to do. Prosecutors cannot cross-examine defendants after such statements.
Troubled past: Before Anderson's statement, the jury heard testimony from his 58-year-old mother, Polly Parks, of Youngstown.
She told of Anderson's troubled teen-age years and the lack of a solid father figure in the household. Anderson's biological father was married to another woman and had another family, so was unable to be around for Anderson and his twin brother, Christopher, Parks said.
She eventually married another man, Joseph Parks, who rejected the boys and drove a wedge between her and them.
About a month after she and Parks were married in 1990, Parks forced her to lock the twins out of the house because they did not immediately come in when she called them, Polly Parks said. Christopher came home the next day, but Anthony didn't come home for a month.
"That was when things started going noticeably berserk," Polly Parks said.
The jury can recommend that Anderson either be put to death or sentenced to life in prison. If it recommends the death penalty, Judge R. Scott Krichbaum can overrule the jury and impose a life sentence. If the jury recommends a life sentence, though, the judge cannot impose the death penalty.