Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2003 | 11:01 a.m.
The man convicted of killing his girlfriend and her teenage son showed emotion in court for the first time on Tuesday, weeping as his family members begged jurors to spare his life.
Timmy "T.J." Weber, 29, who appeared unmoved during his two-week murder trial, hid his face from cameras during testimony in the penalty phase of the trial before District Judge Joseph Bonaventure.
Jurors were expected to continue deliberating this morning on whether Weber should spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole, or be put to death for his crimes.
Linda Bailey, Weber's aunt, told jurors that killing Weber wouldn't bring back Kim Gautier, 38, and her 15-year-old son, Anthony Gautier.
"The Timmy you know isn't the Timmy I helped raise," she said. "This is such a shock for our family. We never thought Timmy would hurt a fly, (let alone) Kim and Anthony, who he loved."
The same jurors deciding Weber's fate convicted him Monday on all 17 felony charges in the slayings and the rape of Kim Gautier's 14-year-old daughter.
Even if jurors sentenced Weber to the minimum possible sentence, which is unlikely considering the other convictions, he still would not be eligible for parole until he was 70, said Deputy Public Defender Will Ewing.
"The question we have now is where and when Mr. Weber will die," he told jurors. "You're responsible for the decision you make. Every one of you can make the decision that the killing is going to stop."
Ewing said a life sentence would allow jurors to punish Weber severely, while still adhering to justice.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Chris Lalli urged jurors to remember the brutal nature of Weber's crime.
"A predator like this must be dealt with very harshly," he said. "The imposition of the death penalty will guarantee that Timmy Weber never kills again."
Weber's family members told jurors that despite a tough childhood, Weber was a well-adjusted child who loved his family and animals.
Weber, who was raised in Kentucky and Illinois, had to change schools five times during elementary school because his single mother was in constant search of affordable housing, they testified.
They said Diane Weber, Weber's mother, left his abusive father when Weber was an infant. Weber lived with relatives while his mother did prison time for a felony conviction, they said.
Weber, who moved to Las Vegas with his mother at age 14, was described as a compassionate child who loved animals.
But Chief Deputy District Attorney Robert Daskas painted a different picture of Weber, an eight-time convicted felon.
He read jurors a litany of Weber's prior arrests and felony convictions, which included a burglary conviction in which Weber burglarized a California Wal-Mart by cutting a hole in the roof.
Weber, whose record dates back to age 14, managed to avoid long prison sentences by pleading guilty to lesser charges and persuading judges to allow his sentences to run concurrently, Daskas said.
"He's been given break after break after break," he said. "We now ask you if he should be given another break."
Chris Gautier, 18, told jurors how much he missed his brother, Anthony, who he described as a "handsome kid who wanted to get married and have children one day."
He said his sister, who currently lives in Illinois with her grandmother, still breaks down at the mere mention of her mother or brother's name.
Dr. Lewis Etcoff, a neurophysiologist who interviewed Weber in December, said Weber appeared to be a withdrawn loner who felt uncomfortable being around people.
He said while Weber showed no signs of psychosis, he did appear to be obsessive compulsive, a neurological disorder in which people display anxious repeat behavior.
Etcoff said there was little or no likelihood that Weber would act aggressively or violently in prison.
"He would be more likely than most to be suicidal," he said. "He would also be easily victimized. He wouldn't be someone prisoners would like or want to interact with."
Under cross-examination by Lalli, however, Etcoff said psychological tests are often unreliable, and that several inconsistencies were evident during Weber's interview.
He also said Weber had received 12 infractions during a period of less than a year at the Clark County Detention Center.
In a letter read by Bailey, Diane Weber, who lives in Las Vegas, said her son loved Kim Gautier and planned to marry her.
She said she did not want to appear on camera because she has a minor stepson whose interest she has to protect.
Still, she urged jurors to give Weber a life sentence.
"I hope you will never know what it's like to beg strangers to spare your son's life," she said.