- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 18, 2009

CHARLOTTESVILLE (AP) | A Charlottesville man who requested the death penalty for killing an 11-year-old boy during a robbery changed his mind and instead will spend life behind bars.

Waverly “Eddie” Whitlock, 28, had said he would plead guilty only if he were guaranteed the death penalty for killing Aziz Damar Booth and shooting the boy’s stepfather, Rueben Lewis III. After a competency hearing Friday to determine if he could make that decision, Whitlock pleaded guilty to 10 crimes and received six life sentences plus 33 years.

Whitlock’s attorneys didn’t reveal why he changed his mind and refused to comment after the hearing.

Whitlock didn’t give a statement in court. He was led out in shackles after Circuit Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. approved the plea agreement.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Claude Worrell said Aziz’s family supported the plea.

Mr. Worrell said he offered the plea in February because the child’s mother and Mr. Lewis “didn’t want to be responsible for another death.” In May, Whitlock’s attorneys said he wanted the death penalty. Two weeks ago, they asked if the life sentence offer still stood.

Police said Whitlock knocked on the family’s door June 3, 2008, and asked to borrow $10. Whitlock then pulled a 9 mm pistol and ransacked the house, filling Aziz’s backpack with video games, electronics and a 2-liter Pepsi bottle. Whitlock ordered Aziz and Mr. Lewis to lay face-down on the kitchen floor.

Just before Whitlock fired one shot into each, Mr. Lewis told police that the boy said, “Please don’t, I love my mama.”

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