Bartender Murder: Jury Recommends Death

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LAKE COUNTY, Ohio -- A jury has recommended the death penalty for the man convicted of murdering Mentor-on-the-Lake bartender Annie McSween.

The jury reached its decision on Thursday just before 7 p.m.

Joseph L. Thomas, 28, was found guilty last week of aggravated murder and rape.

Prosecutors say Thomas attacked McSween by her car after she asked him to leave the Lakeway Lounge back in November 2010. She had been stabbed multiple times and raped.

After the judge told the jury that polygraph results were not admissible, Thomas maintained his innocence.

He told the jury, "I didn't do this. I'm still here for it. Another man has failed (the lie detector test).  Yet, he's not here.  The rest of it is up for you all to decide."

"On behalf of our County Prosecutor Charles Coulson, he says justice is what the jury's verdict is, so justice was done today," said Asst. County Prosecutor Charles Cichocki.  "Justice for Joe Thomas and hopefully justice for the family of Ann McSween, and we offer them our sincere condolences."

A judge will now decide whether or not to take the jury's recommendation or sentence Thomas to life in prison.

*For additional coverage on this story, click HERE.

(Fox 8's Lou Maglio contributed to this report.)