COLUMBIA, Mo. -- After finding Cecil Barriner guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, a jury on Friday spared his life by handing down two sentences of life in prison.
Although he will spend the rest of his days behind bars without chance for parole, the jury's sentencing decision was a victory for Barriner, who twice before had been sent to Missouri's death row for the brutal stabbing deaths of two New Madrid County women. The Missouri Supreme Court overturned both convictions.
In his third trial, Barriner again was convicted of murdering Irene Sisk, 74, and her granddaughter Candy Sisk, 19, in their Tallapoosa home on Dec. 16, 1996. The proceedings were held in Boone County before a jury of seven men and five women chosen in neighboring Callaway County.
Barriner, 42, is a former resident of Poplar Bluff.
The case was submitted to the jury late Thursday afternoon following two days of testimony. After seven hours of deliberations that concluded Friday morning, the jury rendered the guilty verdicts.
After deliberating about 90 minutes on sentence, the jury handed down its recommendation of life in prison without parole, which was the only option available other than the death sentence.
Senior Judge Frank Conley is scheduled to formally sentence Barriner on Dec. 17. Conley has no discretion to set aside the jury's sentence and impose the death penalty.