PENSACOLA, Fla. – A man who claimed he killed a retired police officer because he thought the "A" on the victim's University of Alabama baseball cap meant he was the Antichrist has been sentenced to death.
In addition to the death sentence, Ryan Thomas Green, 22, was given two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole for the attempted murder and robbery of a housepainter, who was shot and now uses a wheelchair.
Green apologized at his sentencing hearing Wednesday to the families of the former officer, James Hallman, who was shot to death Feb. 23, 2003, and the housepainter, Christopher Phipps.
"From the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry," Green said.
The jury that found Green guilty in October recommended 10-2 that he be put to death. The death sentence will be appealed automatically.
Green had testified during the trial that a talking bull, religious signs, colors and symbols influenced him to shoot Hallman. He was initially declared mentally incompetent but underwent treatment and was later was found competent for trial. He also had received treatment at a mental health facility before the shootings.
His relatives said Wednesday that sentencing a mentally ill person to death was cruel and inhumane.
"The family did everything we could to get him help and protect him from himself. Ryan has felt a lot of remorse and guilt over this, and we truly believe that he was not in his right mind," said his mother, Cynthia. "I am very sorry that this has happened. But our family has been ripped apart as well."
Hallman's son the death sentence was proper.
"I will feel closure when I watch his last breath, just like he forced us to watch my father's last breath," said James Hallman III.