Jurors in Bucks County remained split yesterday on whether to sentence convicted killer Omar Sharif Cash to life in prison or the death penalty.
By default, Judge C. Theodore Fritsch Jr. sentenced Cash, 28, of Philadelphia, to life without parole for the first-degree murder of Edgar Rosas-Gutierrez, 32.
About 3:30 a.m. May 11, 2008, Cash kidnapped Rosas-Gutierrez and the victim's girlfriend, then 41, inside their car outside Jalapeño Joe's nightclub on Castor Avenue near Wyoming. With a gun, he forced Rosas-Gutierrez to drive while he raped the girlfriend in the back seat.
Off a ramp in Bensalem, Cash shot Rosas-Gutierrez dead. He raped the woman again in a nearby parking lot. He raped her again in a New Jersey hotel, according to her testimony.
Bucks County Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc Furber, who argued for the death penalty, said yesterday that Cash is "a cold-blooded killer to the core and he deserves to spend every second of his life behind bars."
He said the rape victim, a Brazilian woman, "respects what the jury decided and she is just glad he [Cash] won't be able to do this to anyone else. She feels justice was served. She is glad she is alive."
Defense attorney Michael Goodwin said that life in prison "was absolutely the right sentence based on all the factors that contributed to this crime - that if he [Cash] had a different background, this crime wouldn't have happened. A sentence of death would have been an injustice."
Goodwin argued that Cash's upbringing - an absent father and a negligent, alcoholic and crack-addicted mother - and evidence that Cash had a damaged brain contributed to his lack of impulse control and to his committing the crimes. He implored the jury to have mercy on his client.
The jury last week also convicted Cash of rape, robbery and related offenses. The judge yesterday sentenced Cash to a consecutive 65 to 130 years in prison on these other charges, Furber said.
Cash still faces a murder trial in Philadelphia in the April 2008 death of Muliek Brown, 19. He faces the death penalty in that case.