It was an emotional morning of testimony in the Christian Olsen capital murder trial, as the eight women and four men charged with choosing life in prison or death for a 21-year-old heard from a pair of parents.
The biological mother of the convicted murderer, Sharon Brewer, took the stand, testifying that she put her child up for adoption after giving birth when she was 14.
"It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do," Brewer told the jury
The first time Brewer met her child was Tuesday as he sat in jail.
"I was sad," Brewer said of being told about her son's acts. I didn't really know how to react."
For the most comprehensive coverage of this case, including extended raw videos, be sure to log on to the live blog page as Steve Fullhart covers the case live from inside the courtroom.
In the end, after spending just a short few minutes on the stand, Brewer asked the jury to spare the life of the son she never knew.
"I apologize for what he has done, but I beg you guys, if you can find it in your heart to spare his life," Brewer said.
Also on the stand was Mikael Olsen, Christian's adopted father. He, like Brewer, pleaded with jurors to not choose the death penalty, and apologizing to the family of the victim for what his child had done.
"I'm the father of two children. I'm supposed to be the guardian of the children in my household, and this has happened," Olsen said in what may have been the most emotional testimony of the day.
One week ago Wednesday, Olsen was convicted of brutally killing his 68-year-old Bryan neighbor, Etta Jean Westbrook, and stealing her credit card.
Among the last people to take the stand Tuesday when the trial was last in session was Christian Olsen's adopted mother, who said her son had been brainwashed by his now-42-year-old girlfriend.
"It's breath-taking," Mikael said. "It takes your breath away. You can't breathe. I just don't understand. I do not understand."
And in regards to the death penalty decision the jurors must make: "It's a hard choice," Mikael Olsen said. "It's a hard choice. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I know Christian is, too."
Both legal teams have focused much of their attention in this phase on the other murder Olsen is accused of -- that of the 63-year-old mother, Geraldine Lloyd, of his girlfriend, Kelly Sifuentez.
Sifuentez has also been charged with the murder of her mother. Neither Olsen nor Sifuentez's charges are capital in relation to the Lloyd death.
Jurors were sent home late in the morning and asked to return Monday. The current schedule means the jury will likely begin deliberations Tuesday, according to Judge Steve Smith.
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