Jury recommends death penalty for man convicted of murder

Published 10:50 pm Monday, May 12, 2014

Chilton County jurors recommended a death sentence Monday afternoon in the penalty portion of James Osgood’s capital murder trial.

The 12-member jury had the choice to recommend a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole or a death sentence.

After deliberating for more than 30 minutes Thursday afternoon, the jury returned a vote of 12-0 in favor of the death sentence.

Osgood appeared in court in a bright pink prison jumpsuit with chains around his wrists and ankles, showing no emotion as the recommended death sentence was read aloud.

Chilton County Circuit Judge Sibley Reynolds can accept the recommendation or override it.

Jurors found Osgood, 44, of Shelby, guilty on two counts of capital murder Friday in the Oct. 13, 2010, death of Tracy Brown.

The two counts of capital murder involve murder in commission of rape in the first degree and murder in commission of sodomy in the first degree.

Brown was brutally murdered in her trailer off County Road 24.

Osgood and Tonya Vandyke, 43, attacked Brown in her bedroom, forcing Brown at gunpoint to perform sexual acts on both of them before Osgood slashed Brown’s neck several times with a knife or knife-like object and later in the back twice before she died on her bedroom floor.

Vandyke, a co-defendant in the case, was Osgood’s girlfriend. She faces two counts of capital murder but is being tried separately from Osgood. Her trial will begin in December.

The prosecution showed jurors a key piece of evidence last week involving a taped confession from Osgood to two investigators with the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department where Osgood described in detail the graphic accounts leading up to the murder.

Osgood often used vulgar language to describe the acts performed on Brown.

In the video, Osgood said he told Brown after cutting her, that he was “sorry” and it was “nothing against her” but she needed to “quit fighting and go.”

Osgood also told the investigators, who interviewed him at the Chilton County Jail, that he first got the idea to kill someone from watching an episode of CSI on television.

Earlier in the day, jurors heard testimony from witnesses defense attorneys brought forth to testify about Osgood’s upbringing.

Osgood’s sister, Ann Marie Osgood, testified about her brother who she called “Jimmy” and told jurors she still “loves him very much.”

“It has always been Jimmy and me against the world,” Ann Marie Osgood said. “I don’t condone what happened and what he has done but I will always love my brother. He didn’t want me to come today, but I wanted to because I wanted to let people know that he is loved.”

Ann Marie spoke to the jury regarding Osgood’s childhood, which involved neglect and abuse from an early age.

As Ann Marie testified about their childhood, Osgood wiped tears from his eyes several times.

Osgood was born Aug. 28, 1969, to a mother who was a drug addict and prostitute and a father who later put Osgood, Ann Marie and an older sister up for adoption.

The three children were later adopted by parents who also abused the children, according to Ann Marie.

“Jimmy always focused on the fact he was abandoned by our biological parents,” Ann Marie said. “Even to this day he talks about why we were abandoned and the fact our parents didn’t want us. That stuck with him.”

Defense attorney B.J. Lewis told jurors that Osgood never had anything “normal” in his life.

“Nothing in this man’s life has been normal,” Lewis said.

Chief Deputy District Attorney for the 19th Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office C.J. Robinson argued Brown’s death was heinous, atrocious and cruel.

“The choices we make have consequences,” Robinson said. “Osgood chose to murder Tracy Brown and her death was for nothing. No one else made those choices; James Osgood made those choices, no one else. Nothing justifies or excuses the death of this woman. You have already found the truth, now I ask you to do justice.”

District Attorney for the 19th Judicial Circuit Randall Houston said he was pleased with the jury’s decision to return a recommendation of a death sentence.

“We are very pleased,” Houston said.

The sentencing portion of Osgood’s trial will be June 13 at 9 a.m. at the Chilton County Courthouse.