updated 2/15/2005 11:22:11 PM ET 2005-02-16T04:22:11

A sausage factory owner was sentenced to death Tuesday for killing three meat inspectors nearly five years ago.

Stuart Alexander, 43, the self-proclaimed “sausage king,” was convicted in October of three counts of first-degree murder for the 2000 shooting deaths of two federal inspectors and one state inspector at his factory in San Leandro.

A jury recommended Dec. 14 that he be put to death, and an Alameda County judge upheld the sentence. The case will be automatically appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Alexander’s public defenders had argued that their client was driven to kill after months of harassment by the inspectors, and the death penalty wasn’t intended for “emotion driven killings.”

Prosecutors argued that Alexander hatched a “diabolical plan” to kill the inspectors, get away with it by pleading insanity, then write a book or movie to profit and gain notoriety from the crime.

The murders were captured on the factory’s surveillance videotape, which was shown to jurors during the five-month trial.

After Alexander killed the three inspectors, he fired at and chased a fourth inspector for several blocks from the Santos Linguisa Factory.

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