By Brian White - email
For almost four weeks, the jury assigned to the Christopher Payne murder trial listened to gruesome facts, horrifying details and careful arguments from both sides.
Today, the 12 men and women responsible for deciding Payne's fate announced their decision: Payne will be executed for his crimes. His sentence is death for both counts of murder.
Payne will be sent to death row in the state prison complex in Florence, Ariz. where his case will be automatically appealed.
Arizona's last execution was in 2007 by lethal injection. Robert Comer was executed in May 2007 after going on a killing and raping spree in 1987.
There are 119 inmates in Arizona currently on death row. Two of them are females. Twenty-five were sentenced in Pima County.
Payne was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, child abuse and concealment of a dead body on March 17.
According to prosecutors, Payne locked up his two children, Ariana and Tyler in a bedroom closet and starved them for months in 2006 before they died.
Meanwhile, he and his girlfriend, Reina Gonzales, got high on heroin while the children survived on a sandwich a day.
He hid the bodies of the children in plastic bags before stuffing them in a plastic tub. He locked the container away in a midtown storage unit.