NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Louisiana Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction and death sentence of a man who killed his estranged wife and 5-year-old son and attempted to kill his two daughters.
Jurors convicted James Magee for the 2007 shooting deaths of his 28-year-old wife, Adrienne, and their son, Zach, in the Tall Timbers subdivision north of Mandeville. He also was found guilty of attempting to kill his daughters, then-8-year-old Ashleigh and then-7-year-old Aleisha.
The Times-Picayune reported the Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentence last week.
A few days before the killings, Magee and his wife argued because he believed she had been seeing another man. He left dozens of voice mail messages on his wife's answering machine, threatening to harm her if she didn't return his calls.
A few days later, as Adrienne Magee was returning to home after retrieving the children from Mandeville Elementary School, her estranged husband chased their car through the neighborhood, ramming it into a tree, according to the testimony of witnesses. He then began shooting.
At point-blank range, he shot Adrienne Magee in the temple with a shotgun. He then fired two blasts at his son, as the boy scurried from the scene. Turning the weapon on his daughters, he fired one shot into the car where they were hiding.
Magee was willing to plead guilty before the trial began in exchange for a sentence of life in prison. But St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Walter Reed did not accept the offer.
Throughout the 2009 trial, Magee's legal team did not deny their client's actions, but argued he did not deserve the death penalty.
During the penalty phase of the trial, Magee's family members pleaded for his life, noting that it would be better for his two remaining children if he were to receive a sentence of life in prison.