PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The penalty phase for a man convicted of first-degree murder in Washington County began Tuesday morning.
On Monday, a jury found Jordan Clemons guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Karissa Kunco.
Today, Kunco’s mother and father gave emotional victim impact statements as the prosecution tries to convince a jury that Jordan Clemons should be sentenced to death.
Paul Kunco wiped tears from his eyes, “Does a father really have to explain what it’s like to have his daughter brutally murdered? Probably not,” he said. “If I want to hug my daughter again, I have to die.”
“There is an ache in your heart no one can understand,” Kathy Kunco said.
One of the aggravating factors jurors have to consider is whether Clemons has a significant, violent criminal history.
Prosecutors detailed Clemons’ juvenile arrest for punching a teacher in Delaware County in 2006, as well as convictions for two armed robberies in Canonsburg in 2009.
Another aggravating factor is the murder happened while the victim was under a Protection from Abuse order against him.
The prosecution rested their case around 11:30 a.m.
The defense is offering mitigating circumstances hoping to spare Jordan’s life including:
He was under extreme mental distress at the time, his capacity to understand the criminality of the act was impaired, his age at the time (22) as well as evidence of an abusive childhood, a brain injury from playing football, a drug history and the loss of his brother in 2011.
Robert Clemons, Jordan’s father, told the jury that the anger his son had welled up inside of him was the result of physical beatings by him due to his own addiction to drugs and alcohol. At one point, there was testimony all three children once tried to pull the father off their mother when he physically abused her.
“I knew her. I knew Karissa. There’s been times that she called me literally in the middle of the night crying and asking me to pray for Jordan because of what he was feeling and all the anger that he had welled up inside of him,” said Robert. “His father, I used to be the superman in his eyes, has failed him. And that’s the bottom line. That’s what I did.”
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