- Associated Press - Thursday, January 8, 2015

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - A Mobile father has been sentenced to death for the killings of his 4-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.

Mobile Circuit Judge Rick Stout on Thursday sentenced John DeBlase to death, upholding a recommendation from a jury. The jurors in November convicted DeBlase of capital murder for the deaths of his 4-year-old daughter Natalie and his 3-year-old son Chase in 2010.

“The court has never encountered facts showing a more callous disregard for the sanctity of human life,” Stout said, according to Al.com.

District Attorney Ashley Rich called the death sentence justice for the two children, who suffered horrific deaths. Prosecutors have said the children were tortured, gagged, choked to death and then had their bodies dumped in remote areas.

The body of the 4-year-old girl was found near Citronelle, Alabama, and the body of the boy near Vancleave, Mississippi.

DeBlase on Thursday asked the judge to spare his life, saying he did not kill his children.

“I am not going to ask for mercy. I am going to ask for my life. I love my kids. I did not kill my kids,” DeBlase told Stout.

Heather Keaton, the children’s stepmother, also has been charged with capital murder in the deaths of the children. Keaton is scheduled to face trial in April.

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