updated 2/3/2009 4:53:17 PM ET 2009-02-03T21:53:17

A man convicted of murdering four people in a house in a botched 2004 robbery plot was sentenced to death.

The jury that convicted Raul Cortez on Thursday deliberated nearly seven hours before deciding on his punishment Monday night. The case will be automatically appealed.

Prosecutors say Cortez, 28, his brother and a friend went to Rosa Barbosa's home in McKinney, about 30 miles northeast of Dallas, to get the key and alarm code for the check-cashing store where she worked so they could rob it. They fatally shot Barbosa, 46, her nephew Mark Barbosa, 25, and his friends Matthew Self, 17, and Austin York, 18, who happened to be in the house that night.

Eddie Ray Williams, 26, also is charged with capital murder in the case. Cortez's brother, Javier Cortez, was not charged in the deaths. He is serving a four-year federal sentence on a firearms charge.

After the sentencing, some of the victims' relatives addressed Raul Cortez in the courtroom, The Dallas Morning News reported Tuesday.

"This young man had a future," York's stepfather, Steve Wilson, told Cortez he held up a photo of the slain youth. "You've smiled. You've smirked, but at the end of the day you have no chance of going to heaven."

At trial, a DNA expert testified that Cortez's DNA was a possible match to that found on pieces of latex gloves caught on duct tape used to bind Rosa Barbosa. Cortez's ex-wife testified that after she heard about the murders, Cortez told her he had done something really bad and would have to pay for it someday.

Cortez testified that he had nothing to do with the murders. He said Williams came to his house that day to borrow money but he paid Williams to mow his lawn instead. Cortez said he first put on latex gloves to remove dog droppings and then gave the gloves to Williams when he offered to do it.

Defense attorney Jon Tatum asked jurors Monday to sentence Cortez to life in prison instead of death. "Vengeance is not the prerogative of man," he said.

But Collin County prosecutor Greg Davis called Cortez "heartless" and "cold-blooded" and said he deserved to pay the ultimate price.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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