After deliberating about an hour Monday afternoon, a Jefferson County jury sentenced Charles Moorman, 61, to life in prison without the possibility of parole following a trial that began last Monday.

After deliberating about an hour Monday afternoon, a Jefferson County jury sentenced Charles Moorman, 61, to life in prison without the possibility of parole following a trial that began last Monday.

On Friday, that same jury of seven women and five men had convicted Moorman of capital murder in the Sept. 2, 2010, stabbing death of Eddie Smith Jr., 44, who, along with Moorman, was also an inmate in the Maximum Security Unit at Tucker Prison.

Moorman, who legally changed his name to Shaheed in 1972 when he converted to the Muslim religion, was serving a sentence of life in prison without parole after pleading guilty to three counts of capital murder and one count of first-degree murder in Pulaski County in 1980.

Smith, who had been convicted of capital murder, rape and kidnapping in Arkansas County, was also serving a sentence of life in prison without parole.

“We charged him with capital murder because of the nature of the crime and from the beginning, said we were going to seek the death penalty if the jury found him guilty of capital murder which they did,” Prosecuting Attorney S. Kyle Hunter said Monday night.

“He had been serving life without parole since the early 80s in the deaths of five people and we wanted to give the jury the opportunity to consider the death penalty which they did, then they decided on life without parole,” Hunter said.

Hunter, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Wayne Juneau and Deputy Prosecutor Jill Reed represented the state during the trial.

Prosecutors said Smith was killed when Moorman came up behind him while Smith was standing in the doorway of the laundry room at the prison and Moorman stabbed Smith once in the neck with a pocket knife, cutting an artery.

Testifying Monday during the penalty phase of the trial, Moorman said he and Smith had been involved in an altercation after Moorman destroyed pornographic material that Smith had hidden in the prison gym, where Moorman worked as a porter.

“He did the right thing and even prison officials would have said he did the right thing,” attorney John Cone said during closing arguments Monday. “Eddie Smith didn’t do the right thing and started harassing Charles Moorman.”

Cone said that about a month before Smith was killed, he came up behind Moorman, put a pen to Moorman’s throat, and told Moorman he “owed him (Smith) money.

“Eddie Smith was 44 years old and weighed 243 pounds,” Cone said. “Eddie Smith was younger than Charles Moorman and outweighed him.”

Cone said Moorman knew that Smith was serving time for rapes, describing the crime as one person “stepping into another person’s space and saying ‘this is what I want and you’re going to give it to me or I’ll take it.

“Eddie Smith stepped into Charles Moorman’s space,” Cone said.

Attorney Chris Hayes from the Public Defender’s Office assisted Cone in representing Moorman.

In his closing, Juneau said the state had proved aggravating circumstances which could result in a death penalty.

“He was sent to prison for first-degree murder, capital murder, another capital murder, another capital murder, and aggravated robbery. I didn’t put Charles Moorman in that (defendant’s) chair. The prosecutor didn’t put Charles Moorman in that chair. The judge didn’t put Charles Moorman in that chair. Charles Moorman put Charles Moorman in that chair,” Juneau said.

Earlier Monday, Cone said Moorman started using drugs while serving in Vietnam “and it was downhill from there.”

“He was in Little Rock and had very little to show except a drug habit and he had to feed that habit with robberies,” Cone said. “By 1980, he had become a monster and the murders happened.”

Moorman was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to three counts of capital murder and one count of first-degree murder. He had previously served time after pleading guilty to a series of robberies in Little Rock.

“He spent 29 years not becoming a monster,” Cone said. “He had come to terms with the fact that he was going to die in prison.”

Testifying during the penalty phase Monday morning, Moorman said he joined the Air Force after graduating from high school in Little Rock and was trained as an air policeman and dog handler.

“I wanted to go to Vietnam and all dog handlers went to Vietnam,” he said, telling the jury that he served 13 months guarding the perimeter of an air base.

“I’ve had problems with drugs basically all my life,” Moorman said. “In Vietnam, I got hooked on heroin. Everybody in my group, everybody in my barracks used it.”

Moorman said he was eventually discharged from the Air Force because of the drug problem, and after traveling to California and Denver, returned to Little Rock where he lived with his grandmother before being arrested and later pleading guilty to several robberies. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison and served five years before being paroled.

“When I went to prison I was actually happy because I was clean and it felt good,” he said.

After being released from prison, Moorman said he went back to using drugs and by 1979, was using them heavily.

“I had this obsession that I was going to die by the time I was 30,” Moorman said.

He said he started driving for drug dealers, making runs to Oklahoma and California to pick up drugs, while having what he described as a “$200 a day drug habit, using cocaine and heroin.”

“I would shoot up two or three times a day,” Moorman said.

By 1980, Moorman had been charged with several murders, and said while he didn’t kill all the victims, he was there.

“I didn’t take the plea to avoid the death penalty,” Moorman said. “I was going to trial but my brother-in-law was a state trooper and he came to the jail everyday to tell me my sister was going through a lot of pain because of me.”

“I never got the obsession that I was going to die out of my head,” Moorman said. “My mental process has been shot since I was four years old.”

During his entire sentence, Moorman was never charged with assaulting a guard, and said he never had a problem with the guards.

“I understand security and the guards were doing what they were supposed to do. My problem was with inmates who don’t do what they’re supposed to do,” Moorman said.

Cone had asked the jury to “not retry those other cases,” during his close, and in his final close, Juneau agreed, but said “that’s part of the aggravating circumstances.

“Committing a murder in prison justify’s the death penalty,” Juneau said.