Reid formally sentenced to death

By Steven Mross
This article was published March 13, 2018 at 5:00 a.m.

A local man convicted March 2 of two counts of capital murder for the 2015 shooting deaths of his wife and daughter was formally sentenced to death by lethal injection Monday during a brief hearing in Garland County Circuit Court.

Eric Allen Reid, 57, who has remained in custody since his arrest shortly after the Oct. 19, 2015, deaths of his wife, Laura J. Reid, 57, and his daughter, Mary Ann Reid, 32, was sentenced to death March 6 by a seven-man, five-woman jury after a five-day trial that included two days of jury selection, two days of testimony and a one-day sentencing hearing.

Clad in the standard orange Garland County Detention Center jumpsuit and wearing shackles around his ankles, wrist and waist, Reid appeared before Judge John Homer Wright shortly after 1 p.m. Monday with his attorney, Willard J. Proctor, of Little Rock, while Chief Deputy Prosecutor Joe Graham and Deputy Prosecutor Kara Petro appeared for the state.

Wright explained how the jury had found that the two aggravating circumstances offered by the state at sentencing "did in fact exist" and that the first three mitigating circumstances presented by the defense did not exist, and while the remaining mitigating factors existed, they were outweighed by both of the aggravating factors.

Aggravating factors were the state's contention that Reid knowingly caused the death of more than one person and caused a great risk of death to another person aside from the victims, namely his younger daughter, Heather Reid, who was struck in the arm by a bullet.

The first three mitigating factors the jury disallowed were the contention Reid was under extreme mental or emotional distress at the time, was under "unusual pressures" at the time and lacked the capacity to understand his actions or conform them to the law at the time.

The other mitigating factors the jury accepted were that he had no significant prior criminal history, was gainfully employed with a good work history, served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, had multiple health issues requiring medication and had taken courses to improve himself while in jail.

Wright said the jury found that a sentence of death was appropriate beyond a reasonable doubt. When asked by Wright, neither Reid nor Proctor had any statement to add to the record. No family members appeared in the courtroom during Reid's sentencing.

Graham told Wright he set an execution date of April 5 for Reid, noting the statute requires an execution date be set in 30 days even though there is an automatic and mandatory appeal of the sentence.

Proctor told The Sentinel-Record after Monday's hearing he planned to file some post-trial motions, including one for a new trial.

"We were obviously disappointed with the verdict," he said, noting they were hoping Reid would be found guilty of one of the offenses lesser than capital murder, which included first-degree or second-degree murder and manslaughter.

"We were very surprised by the sentence of death but understood that was one of the risks of going to trial. We're going to try to appeal and hopefully there will be a different result," he said.

"I have nothing but good things to say about Judge Wright and the way he conducted his court. I was very impressed with him and pleased with the accommodations they made for us. We just don't agree with the outcome."

Local on 03/13/2018
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