MARION, Ark. — A 15-year-old boy was sentenced Friday to die by poison injection after being convicted of capital murder in the stabbing deaths of two elderly sisters and their great-grandnephew.
Ronald Ward of West Memphis, Ark., who has been in the seventh grade for three years and who will be 16 in October, was sentenced by Circuit Judge David Burnett of Osceola. The boy sat bolt upright, then slumped and began sobbing as the sentence was read.
The jury deliberated for about two hours before finding Ward guilty late Thursday. Jurors then deliberated for 35 minutes and recommended the death penalty, which the state had sought. The only other penalty allowed by Arkansas law for a capital murder conviction is life in prison without parole.
Ward was convicted of killing Lois Townsend Jarvis, 76; Audrey Townsend, 72, and Chris Simmons, 12, his classmate. Their bodies were found in a bedroom of the sisters' home in West Memphis on April 12. An autopsy showed that Townsend had been raped.