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James Hairston Idaho Death Row

james hairston idaho death row

James Hairston was sentenced to death by the State of Idaho for two murders committed during a robbery. According to court documents James Hairston and an accomplice forced their way into an elderly couples home and proceeded to execute the two victims, William and Dalma Fuhriman both seventy two years old. The robbery netted less than a hundred dollars. James Hairston was arrested, convicted and sentenced to death.

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James Hairston was sentenced to death Friday by a judge for killing two elderly Downey residents in what the judge called executions for money.

The death penalty was ordered by 6th District Judge Peter McDermott for Hairston, 20, who becomes the 19th death row inmate in Idaho and the youngest.

The sentence came in a packed courtroom including family members of the victims and members of the jury that convicted Hairston of first-degree murder.

Hairston, Grand Junction, Colo., was convicted in September of murdering William “Duke” and Dalma Fuhriman, both 72, at their rural Downey farmhouse. Police said the robbery netted Hairston and an accomplice $30, a credit card and a saxophone.

Hairston also was convicted of robbery, and McDermott sentenced him to life in prison with no possibility of parole for that crime.

McDermott said it was a hard decision to impose the ultimate penalty, but he believes Hairston is a cold-blooded, pitiless killer who would kill again if paroled from prison or if he escaped from a less than secure prison setting.

He said Hairston gets a “rush” from shooting people.

“You basically executed these two individuals to be financially rewarded,” McDermott told Hairston.

Hairston, standing between public defenders Randy Schulthies and Tom Eckert, showed no emotion as the sentences were imposed.

Bannock County Prosecutor Mark Hiedeman said Hairston would be taken to the maximum security state prison in Boise.

No execution date was set, but it will be set aside for the Idaho Supreme Court’s automatic review in all death sentence cases.

Co-defendant Richard Klipfel, 27, received a fixed prison term of 20 years to life for his part in the crime. He also is from Grand Junction.

A Grand Junction convenience store clerk, Crystal Bunker, who was shot in the head in a robbery two days before the Downey murders on Jan. 6, was in the courtroom.

She testified at Hairston’s trial that he shot her during a holdup.

“I hope it can help with closure,” she said as she hugged members of the Fuhriman family.

The family hoped McDermott would impose the death penalty, said Jessie Fuhriman, a daughter-in-law of the couple.

“Nothing can bring them back, but that is the most that he (Hairston) can give in restitution, and the Lord will take care of him after that,” she said.

A son of the couple, Crae, also wanted the death penalty.

“I don’t think he has any remorse or any bad feelings for what he did.”

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