US

Jurors to weigh death penalty for man who pleaded guilty but mentally ill in carjack killing

  • In this photo taken on Monday, March 31, 2014, James McVay is escorted into Minnehaha County Court in Sioux falls. S.D. Opening statements are scheduled Wednesday, April 2, in a jury trial to decide whether McVay should get the death penalty for killing a Sioux Falls woman as part of a plot to assassinate the president. He pleaded guilty but mentally ill to first-degree murder for the July 2011 stabbing death of 75-year-old Maybelle Schein. (AP Photo/Argus Leader, Elisha Page) NO SALES

    In this photo taken on Monday, March 31, 2014, James McVay is escorted into Minnehaha County Court in Sioux falls. S.D. Opening statements are scheduled Wednesday, April 2, in a jury trial to decide whether McVay should get the death penalty for killing a Sioux Falls woman as part of a plot to assassinate the president. He pleaded guilty but mentally ill to first-degree murder for the July 2011 stabbing death of 75-year-old Maybelle Schein. (AP Photo/Argus Leader, Elisha Page) NO SALES  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken on Monday, March 31, 2014, James McVay is escorted into Minnehaha County Court in Sioux falls. S.D. Opening statements are scheduled Wednesday, April 2, in a jury trial to decide whether McVay should get the death penalty for killing a Sioux Falls woman as part of a plot to assassinate the president. He pleaded guilty but mentally ill to first-degree murder for the July 2011 stabbing death of 75-year-old Maybelle Schein. (AP Photo/Argus Leader, Elisha Page) NO SALES

    In this photo taken on Monday, March 31, 2014, James McVay is escorted into Minnehaha County Court in Sioux falls. S.D. Opening statements are scheduled Wednesday, April 2, in a jury trial to decide whether McVay should get the death penalty for killing a Sioux Falls woman as part of a plot to assassinate the president. He pleaded guilty but mentally ill to first-degree murder for the July 2011 stabbing death of 75-year-old Maybelle Schein. (AP Photo/Argus Leader, Elisha Page) NO SALES  (The Associated Press)

An attorney says a South Dakota man who could face the death penalty for killing a woman as part of a plan to assassinate President Barack Obama has a history of mental illness and his life should be spared.

James McVay pleaded guilty but mentally ill to murder for the 2011 stabbing of 75-year-old Maybelle Schein. McVay said he killed Schein and stole her car as part of his plot to drive to Washington.

Jurors are deciding whether the 43-year-old should die by lethal injection.

Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said Wednesday the death penalty is warranted because the killing was done to obtain something of monetary value and it was outrageous or wantonly vile.

Public Defender Amber Eggert said the evidence will show neither of those factors apply.