Second jury recommends death for couple?s killer

Jurors recommended the death penalty for Larry Bill Elliott for the second time Friday morning.

Elliott, 53, was convicted Wednesday of the capital murder of Dana Thrall, 25, and the first-degree murder of Robert Finch, 30.

A jury originally convicted Elliott of the Woodbridge couple’s murders and recommended the death penalty in August 2002. In September 2002, defense attorney William Moffitt presented evidence of juror misconduct to the court. Moffitt successfully argued for a new trial, which began March 24.

Prosecutors said in opening statements that Elliott was jealous of Finch, who was embroiled in a child custody battle with Rebecca Gragg. Elliott was infatuated with Gragg, an adult escort and stripper he met on the Internet. She placed an ad for a “sugar daddy” on an adult personals site, and he responded. During their 18-month relationship, he provided her with furnished homes, a car, cellular phone, credit card and breast enhancement surgery, totaling about $450,000.

Jurors deliberated about four and a half hours before recommending the death penalty for Elliott on Friday, less than half the time of jurors who considered imposing the death penalty in August 2002.

Elliott will be sentenced May 22. Trials in Virginia are divided into two parts — the guilt phase and sentencing phase. The sentence is actually meted out by a judge, who can lower the jury’s recommended sentence but not raise it.

Staff writer Maria Hegstad can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 121.

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