'Did they just sentence me to life?’: Jury says life without parole for Bryan Clay

Bryan Clay hugs defense attorney Christopher Oram after receiving a verdict of life without parole Tuesday, December 5, 2017, at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. (KSNV)

The man convicted of raping and murdering a local mother and her 10-year-old daughter will spend the rest of his life in prison.

The jury rejected the death penalty option for Bryan Clay, 27. The family of the victims do not agree with the ruling.

“If it's not this, what could it be?” asked Gaudia Martinez, the sister-in-law of Yadira Martinez and aunt of Karla, 10, who were killed by Clay in April 2012. “They are waiting for something worse than this?”

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Gaudia Martinez attended the nearly month-long trial also every day to represent the victims. She expressed her frustration at the jury’s decision.

“It was definitely in God's hands, and I can't go against his will,” she said. “But here on Earth, I don't think this is called justice.”

In deciding to spare his life, the jury that convicted Clay took into account several factors, including his age, his remorse and his willingness to rehabilitate.

“I think it's easy to say someone was killed, so they forfeit their life,” said defense attorney Tony Sgro. “That's more revenge than taking a careful look at what the evidence is.”

“He leaned over to me and said, ‘Did they just sentence me to life?’ And I think there was shock and fear that he may receive the ultimate punishment,” added attorney Christopher Oram. “We'll do the appeal, but I think there's relief and he is grateful to them.”

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In court, Clay did ask the judge to thank the jury.

Gaudia Martinez is unmoved.

“He asked for a second chance to see his daughter grow up,” she said. “So he thinks he's all that to ask for that privilege when he did what he did to Karla?”

Clay will be formally sentenced on Jan. 25.

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