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Killer Who Said Gays 'Must Be Put Down' Receives Death Penalty

Peter Avsenew

Peter Serge Avsenew was sentenced to die for the murder of a Florida gay couple.

Peter Avsenew, who called gays "a disease to mankind," has been sentenced to death for the murder of a gay couple in Wilton Manors, Fla.

The killer attacked Kevin Mark Powell, 47, and Steve Adams, 52, a few days before Christmas in 2010. He then stole their car and fled north. He was convicted last fall and sentenced this week. In January he told a jury he did not regret the act, and in March he told a judge he would kill again, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

"It is my duty as a white man to cull the weak and timid from existence," Avsenew wrote in a letter to Broward Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes. "Homosexuals are a disease to mankind and must be put down."

Awsenew, 33, is the first to receive a death sentence in Broward County since a law was passed last year requiring juries that choose execution to do so unanimously, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Avsenew's court-appointed attorney pleaded for mercy to Holmes, who had the power to override the jury's decision. He argued that events in the defendant's childhood led him down this path. The lawyer pointed out that his client's sister had been murdered, and he alleged that Avsenew was sexually abused by his father. However, Holmes decided the death penalty was appropriate.

Adams and Powell, who were together 30 years, had invited Avsenew into their home after seeing an ad he posted on Craigslist that was of a sexual nature.

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