COLUMBUS, Indiana — Relatives of two of four people fatally shot inside a southern Indiana home last year say they support a prosecutor's decision not to seek the death penalty against the alleged gunman.
Kelly Cross, the widow of shooting victim Aaron Cross, initially wanted to see 56-year-old Samuel Sallee put to death if he's convicted in the May 2013 killings.
But after speaking to Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash, Cross said she now wants Sallee imprisoned for life and forgotten if he's convicted.
"The more I thought about it, the more convinced I am that he doesn't deserve the special treatment or the special notoriety," Cross told The Republic (http://bit.ly/1fhxmUK ). "Besides, I don't want my 4-year-old graduating from college 20 years from now, still feeling his daddy's murder is unresolved."
Nash met individually or in small groups with about 20 of the victims' relatives and told them that the average time between a crime and an execution in death-penalty cases is nearly 20 years. He announced Thursday that he'll seek life imprisonment without parole for Sallee.
"Although I sought the input of all family members, I want to make it very clear that I did not take a poll and that the responsibility for the ultimate decision is mine and mine alone," Nash said.
Sallee's trial is scheduled to begin in June. He's accused of fatally shooting Aaron Cross and Shawn Burton, both 41-years-old; 53-year-old Katheryn Burton; and her longtime boyfriend, Thomas Smith, 39, in a home in Waynesville, a small community outside Columbus.
Sallee, who was charged in December with four counts of murder, has denied killing the four victims, who he said were his friends.
Pam Zurburgg, Burton's sister, said that by not seeking the death penalty, relatives will be spared the painful emotions and memories that would resurface every time Sallee's case is appealed.
"By the time they're ready to kill him, he'll probably be dead already," Zurburgg said. "I think this is the best thing."
Information from: The Republic, http://www.therepublic.com/