updated 5/29/2007 4:44:38 PM ET 2007-05-29T20:44:38

A jury Tuesday recommended the death penalty for a former elementary school vice principal convicted of murdering his estranged wife, three children and mother-in-law.

Vincent Brothers, once a well respected mentor in this central California city, was convicted May 15 of five counts of first-degree murder and the special circumstance of committing multiple murders.

Brothers had claimed he was in Columbus, Ohio, visiting his brother when his family was shot to death in their home after returning from church.

Prosecutors argued that he flew to the Midwest to establish an alibi, then drove more than 2,000 miles back to Bakersfield in a rental car to kill the five in July 2003.

The victims were Brothers’ estranged wife, Joanie Harper, 39; mother-in-law Earnestine Harper, 70; and children Marques, 4, Lyndsey, 2, and Marshall, 6 weeks.

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