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Richmond Toll Booth Slayer Gets Death Sentence, Taunts Victims’ Families

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Nathan Burris
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MARTINEZ (CBS 5) — A Contra Costa County Superior Court jury on Tuesday recommended a death sentence for a 49-year-old Richmond man who murdered two people at the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge toll plaza in 2009.

Moments after hearing that jurors had determined that he should be put to death, Nathan Burris coldly turned to one of his victim’s families and said laughingly, “I blew your brother’s brains out. Nothing you can do about it. Ha. Ha.”

Jurors deliberated for two days before deciding that Burris get the death penalty as opposed to receiving a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The same jury earlier this month convicted Burris of two counts of first-degree murder and special circumstances for the killings of Golden Gate Transit bus driver Ersie Everette of San Leandro and toll-taker Deborah Ross of Richmond.

Burris drew national attention at the time of his trial, when he urged jurors to convict him quickly so that he could be back to jail in time to watch Monday Night Football.

Prosecutors have described Burris as a “psychopathic killer” and a sociopath who is devoid of a conscience.

Burris, who represented himself at trial, had claimed the slayings were justified because Ross and Everette had started dating after Ross ended a romantic relationship with him.

Burris told jurors that his hatred for Ross and Everette spurred him to go to the Richmond toll plaza where Ross was working during rush hour on Aug. 11, 2009. There, he shot and killed Everette as he sat in a pickup truck parked at the toll plaza, then ran over to the tollbooth where Ross worked and opened fire on her.

Burris also told jurors that he didn’t care if they sentenced him to death, saying he was ready to accept his fate.

“If it was up to me, and you asked me what I’d prefer — I’d say the death penalty…the main reason is because I deserve it,” he said prior to the start of sentencing deliberations.

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