A millionnaire businessman has been spared the death penalty in what would have been New Hampshire's first execution since 1939.

The decision by a jury in Brentwood means an automatic sentence of life without parole for John Brooks. He was convicted of hiring three men to kidnap and kill a man he believed had stolen from him. Jack Reid was beaten to death with a sledgehammer in 2005.

Brooks — who is 56 — lives in Las Vegas.

New Hampshire last sentenced someone to die in 1959; its last execution was in 1939.