The man convicted of raping and killing 12-year-old Amber Harris is headed to death row. A three-judge panel has given 55-year-old Roy Ellis the death penalty.
A jury found Roy Ellis guilty in December 2008 of first degree murder. They also determined there were two aggravating circumstances in Amber Harris' murder in favor of the death penalty. The first is Roy Ellis' criminal history and the second is that Amber Harris' murder was especially heinous.
A three-judge panel made up of Judges Gregory Schatz, Michael Coffey, and Patrick Mullen agreed with the jury.
The defense, court-appointed attorneys Pat Dunn and Jerry Hug had argued Ellis suffers from schizophrenia and has a low I.Q. The prosecution's psychiatric expert disagreed though. He called it anti-social personality disorder, better known as a sociopath, with no real concept of right or wrong.
Amber Harris was last seen getting of a school bus in 2005. Her remains were later found in Hummel Park.
Nebraska does not currently have a means of carrying out the death penalty. The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled electrocution was cruel and unusual punishment in February 2008.
Two bills are in committee right now that could affect Roy Ellis. One would change the means of execution to lethal injection. The other would abolish the death penalty and replace it with life in prison without parole.