A jury in Santa Barbara decided that George Herbert (Spider) Wharton should die in the gas chamber for bludgeoning his girlfriend to death with a hammer then stuffing her body into a barrel. It was only the third time in the last decade that a jury in the seaside community had recommended the death penalty, and Wharton, 36, sat silent as the decision was announced. The panel had evidently rejected defense arguments that Wharton was mentally ill when he killed Linda L. Smith, 45, whose body was found a year ago in the kitchen of her apartment. It was the second murder conviction for Wharton, who beat to death a UC Santa Barbara English department lecturer in February, 1975. That same year he was convicted of raping a 61-year-old Santa Barbara woman at knifepoint.