To the end, Melvin Forte maintained his innocence, even as a Santa Clara County jury on Thursday decided he should die for kidnapping, raping and murdering a young German woman.
The jury deliberated less than three hours before imposing the harshest penalty possible on Forte for the killing of 23-year-old Ines Sailer, whose bullet-riddled body was discovered on Poco Way in East San Jose 30 years ago.
Throughout the case, Forte -- who acted as his own attorney -- denied that he had committed any of the crimes despite the weight of evidence against him.
Sailer's case was solved a few years ago via DNA evidence. And, last month, the jury convicted him of the 1981 kidnapping, rape and murder of the German visitor.
Forte is already serving a life sentence for a 1982 San Francisco carjacking murder in which he shot Dawn O'Malley and her fiance, David Wallace, in an apartment garage.
Though Wallace died instantly, O'Malley survived, and relived the ordeal as she told the jury during the penalty phase of the Sailer trial on why Forte deserved to die.
O'Malley was one of several victims who testified about Forte's violent past, including a prison librarian he tried to strangle.
However, extensive legal challenges could delay his execution for about 20 years -- a scenario the 60-year-old Forte apparently was well aware of when he told the jurors during opening arguments that he would probably die of natural causes before his case was final.