updated 7/14/2005 1:17:37 PM ET 2005-07-14T17:17:37

A federal jury Thursday ruled that a man should be put to death for kidnapping and killing a supermarket worker in the state’s first capital punishment trial in nearly a half-century.

Jurors reached their decision on Donald Fell, 25, on the second day of deliberations. Vermont has no death penalty; Fell was convicted under federal law.

Fell was convicted June 24 of kidnapping Terry King, 53, as she arrived for work at a Rutland supermarket, taking her to New York state and bludgeoning her to death as she prayed for her life.

In 2001 Fell had agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of life without parole. But that deal was rejected by then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, who insisted on the death penalty.

The last execution in Vermont was in 1954. Another defendant was sentenced to death in 1957, but the sentence was later commuted.

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