Feb 11, 2013 3:15 PM
Attorney General Jack Conway and his Office of Special Prosecutions announced Monday that a Trigg County jury has recommended the maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole in the retrial of 42-year-old George Luna for the 2007 death of a Marshall County woman. Luna also received 20 years in prison on a charge of first degree arson, which by law must run concurrent with the life sentence.
After five days of testimony, it took the jury just over an hour on Friday to convict Luna for a second time in the beating death of 46-year-old Debra Hendrickson of Benton, and for setting her mobile home on fire to hide the evidence.
"I appreciate the hard work of my Office of Special Prosecutions in obtaining the maximum sentence possible in this case," General Conway said. "I hope this verdict brings some measure of comfort and closure to the family of Debra Hendrickson."
Luna's 2008 conviction and two consecutive life sentences in connection with the Marshall County murder were overturned on appeal due to an issue with a juror. The trial was moved to Trigg County after failure to seat a jury in Marshall County.
Hendrickson died of blunt force trauma to the head in her mobile home on September 8, 2007. In his first trial, Luna denied ever being present the night Hendrickson died. However, Luna admitted during his retrial that he hit Hendrickson over the head, but claimed it was in self-defense. The Commonwealth successfully argued against Luna's claim of self-defense and proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Luna intentionally murdered Hendrickson and attempted to hide the evidence.
After the jury returned its recommended sentence, Luna waived formal sentencing. He is currently being held in the Marshall County Detention Center.