A jury convicted a man Tuesday of murdering his 14-month-old twin daughters, who were asphyxiated by fumes one day after an $806 child-support payment was deducted from his paycheck.
However, the jury in the town where “To Kill a Mockingbird” was set spared 28-year-old Stanley Kidd from a possible death sentence by rejecting charges of capital murder. The mill worker could get life in prison at his sentencing Aug. 30.
The jury deliberated about five hours.
Kidd tearfully denied plotting the killings of twins Cierra and Kierra, saying their deaths were accidental.
“Where’s the smoking gun?” asked Kidd’s sister, Traci Preyer. “They have convicted an innocent man.”
District Attorney Tommy Chapman acknowledged the case was based on “highly circumstantial evidence.”
Prosecutors accused Kidd of a chilling scheme to avoid child support and collect $16,000 in insurance benefits. They theorized he killed the youngsters by pumping carbon monoxide from the exhaust pipe of his car into the back seat where the twins were strapped, or by altering a gas heater at the house.
The twins were found dead at Kidd’s mother’s house in 1993.
Kidd testified that he picked the girls up from a baby sitter, then drove around before taking them to his mother’s house, where he placed them on a bed.
He said he worked on his car outside for about 45 minutes, then went back inside the house and found the twins not breathing.
The girls’ deaths came a few months after Kidd took out $8,000 life insurance policies on each twin and named himself as beneficiary, and one day after Kidd’s employer, Alabama River Pulp Co., began deducting $806 a month child support from his paycheck of about $1,100 every two weeks.
Prosecutors also said Kidd had been notified of $415 he would owe in a second, separate child-support case and of a third pending against him.