Man convicted of 1st-degree murder in 2008 slayings of man, woman; jury to mull death penalty

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BEAVER, Pennsylvania — A jury has convicted a man of first-degree in the slaying of a western Pennsylvania couple in their home four years ago while their young children were locked up nearby.

Jurors in Beaver County deliberated for more than six hours Tuesday before convicting 37-year-old Robert Burgess in the June 2008 murders of Richard and Demetria Harper.

Authorities said the victims were tied up and shot in the head in the basement of their Beaver Falls home while their 8- and 10-year-old daughters were locked in a small furnace room.

Jurors will return Wednesday to hear arguments about whether Burgess should be executed or spend the rest of his life in prison.

Twenty-seven-year-old Devon Shealey of Pittsburgh was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to two consecutive life terms.

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