Jury recommends life for man convicted of killing 2 ex-Auburn football players, 3rd man

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OPELIKA, Alabama — A jury has recommended life without parole for an Alabama convicted of murdering two former Auburn football players and third man at an off-campus party.

The jury voted 7-5 Thursday on the sentence for Desmonte Leonard. The 24-year-old Montgomery native was convicted earlier this week in the deaths of ex-Auburn football players Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips and Demario Pitts of Opelika in June 2012.

Leonard was convicted of capital murder, three counts of assault and attempted murder. He faced either a life sentence or the death penalty.

Leonard's defense attorneys argued that a fight led up to the shooting and Leonard fired in self-defense. Prosecutors disputed that and said Leonard aimed at the victims.

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