SEATTLE - As KING 5 News reported, the man convicted of killing two women and two children, spoke for the first time in a Seattle courtroom, asking jurors to spare his life.
With tears in his eyes, Connor Schierman began with an apology.
"I know it's a long time coming, I know it can never be enough, but I wanted the victim's family to hear from me how sorry I am for the loss," he said.
Last month, a jury convicted Schierman of the July 2006 stabbing deaths of his neighbors Olga Milkin, her sons - 5-year-old Justin and 3-year-old Andrew - and Olga's sister, Luba Botvina.
Schierman's attorney admits his client burned the victim's Kirkland house down to hide the evidence but says he was in an alcohol-induced blackout.
"Living with the mark of a murderer, considered to be the type of person I've always loathed, somebody who takes advantage of those weaker than them," said Schierman.
There is no known motive for the case although prosecutors hinted at sexual remarks about the victims, made by Schierman just hours before the murders.
"I can't understand why this all happened. I still struggle with that," said Schierman.
On the stand, Schierman insisted he is not a monster, rather a young man who tried to live his life well despite his struggles with alcohol. He said live in prison is punishment enough for the crime.
"I have been told by people that I am going to hell. I am already there," he said.
"This was mass murder," says Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Scott O'Toole. He says the only appropriate sentence is death. "This was multiple, premeditated, deliberate, vicious and gruesome murder."
Schierman's defense attorney Jim Conroy asked jurors to use their "conscience" and "hearts" when deciding "whether or not t the death penalty or executing Conner is the right thing to do."
It has been a difficult journey for the Milkin family. Hearing his grandsons' murderer, brought tears to Pavel Milkin's eyes.
"It's really, really hard for me because it's my grandkids, it's my sister-in-law," he said. "It's really hard, you know. His first time, apologize for what he is doing, you know, most of the time I see his face, it's smile, it's really hard for me."
He would not say what sentence they prefer.
"It's the jury's decision right now," said Milkin.