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Jury recommends life sentence to man guilty of 2nd-degree murder

After two separate deliberations on Wednesday, jurors recommended a 25-year-old man serve life in prison for second-degree murder after a prior felony conviction in Comanche County District Court.

The jury found Andrew J. Gaines, who turns 26 in a few months, guilty of eight felonies in total stemming from a robbery spree in November 2015. 

During the first deliberation on Tuesday morning, the jury deemed Gaines guilty of pulling the trigger that caused the death of Joshua Whitehead, 26, on Nov. 5, 2015. Jurors also gave him guilty verdicts for six other counts  three counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and three counts of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon.

After District Judge Emmit Tayloe read aloud the jury's verdicts on Wednesday afternoon, he informed the jury that stage one was complete and stage two  a second, separate trial  would begin.

During stage two, Tayloe told the jury that Gaines has also been charged with an eighth and final count, possession of a firearm after prior felony conviction. 

The jury was not informed about the eighth count in stage one because in Oklahoma, a defendant's criminal history is withheld from a jury during the initial trial so that jurors' opinions of the case at hand are not negatively influenced by a defendant's past convictions. 

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