Danny Rolling sentenced to death for murders of Gainesville students: Part 10

Rolling faced the death penalty for the Gainesville murders and had to stand trial. During the trial, the families of the victims heard new details about their deaths.
7:51 | 04/10/21

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Transcript for Danny Rolling sentenced to death for murders of Gainesville students: Part 10
It's three and a half to almost four years after the Gainesville murders when the trial was coming. This trial of Danny rolling was going to be unlike anything that had every taken place in this community. The streets were lined up with satellite trucks, one after another after another. Almost immediately we learned that courtv was gonna be covering the trial. I wanted to represent Tracy. I kept saying to myself, it's the last thing I can do for her. I wanted to know every little detail. I had to know. What Sonja went through, I had to know it. We're getting ready to start, and I hear in the back of my ear, we're bringing him in. And I was sitting next to Diana Hoyt at the time. We really had never seen him before, other than in a picture. We're, like, sitting there holding each other's hands. There is the man who destroyed my life, took my beautiful sister away, and I was frozen to the chair. It was expected that Danny going to put up a fight. He was going declare his innocence, which he had done legally. But that's not what happened. Danny stands up and says -- his lawyer stands up and says, your honor, Mr. Rolling would like to address the court. Your honor, I've been running from first one thing and then another all my life, but there are some things that you just can't run from, and this being one of those. He pleads guilty. It didn't mean that the families got skip hearing the details of what happened, because in order to impose the death penalty, the jury has to agree that the death penalty is deserved. During the trial we learned a lot of things. How many hours he was in the crime scenes. You will hear evidence that he told his victims what he was going to do to them. You can see their faces. You can see Tracy Paules's sister, Laurie Lahey, having to hear how her sister died. Tracy's just seen him finish killing Manuel. She turns and she says to him, you're the one, aren't you? He says, yeah, I'm the one. Oh. Killed me. And every time he mentioned her name, it was like a punch in the head. When it's the defense's turn, they get to present mitigating factors, possible explanations for why Danny rolling might have committed these crimes. People talked about his childhood and the, you know, different problems that he had with his father. His father, you know, was an authoritarian. And was abusive and certainly physically abusive, some. Mentally abusive a lot. Danny had come home from school one day and he just physically started beating the boy in the front yard on the porch. And he was beating him with such a force that I called the mother. And they put his mother on, of course. Did there come a time when you thought that the way that your husband was treating Danny was inappropriate? Well, sure, I guess. Sometimes he'd put him up against the wall like this and the marks of his fingers would be there. And he shook him a lot, and that sort of scared me. To us it was like a slap in the face. It was like, you know, well, here's a reason he killed the person you loved so let's -- let's take it easy on him. I didn't believe any of it. There's many people that have abusive parents. They don't go out and commit crimes like this. My job as a psychologist hired by the defense, I try and show the jury that someone is not born with antisocial tendencies. I think that Mr. Rolling has an incredible amount of underlying anger based on his own beliefs that he was victimized as a child. No question he knew right and wrong. Correct. They also put on another psychologist, Betty Mcmann. She did what she could do to present a mental health mitigation. He has always said that he did it in the sense that it was his body his hands, but that gemini did the killing. This is when Satan has taken over. This fog comes over. It's very specific, very elaborate description of what happens. Which I don't remember who it was says, Welsh that's out of that movie, "The exorcist III." While we were trying to build the case, we learned that "The exorcist III" had been playing while he was here. We went and rented that, and watched it. The week of August the 23rd, 1990 while Danny was here, he told you that he went to see the movie "The exorcist part III", didn't he? Yes. He says he's the gemini killer. Danny rolling never told you that the name of the possessed killer was gemini did he? No. Danny rolling never told you when one of the people was trying to communicate, they're trying to figure out what language it is, they figured out that it was really just English but it was backwards? It's very common. The exact thing he did with ynnad? Yeah. He just stole that and used that as part of his story. Danny committed these crimes for one reason only -- he loved it. And every time he stood over any one of them with a knife, he knew the difference between right and wrong and chose to do wrong, didn't he? Every time. Yes. This man was just pure evil. Down in Gainesville, Florida, the jury is now ready to render its decision. When the jury came back, I was calm. First time in the whole case I was kind of calm. We, the jury, as to the count one on the indictment, the first-degree murder of Christina Powell, recommend to the court that it impose the death penalty upon Danny Harold rolling. They said Christi's name first, and there was a great deal of relief. And as they announced the names -- it felt good. It was a recognition and an acknowledgement that what had been done wasn't going to go unanswered. You're going down in five. Do you understand that? In less than five years. Mr. Snowden, remove Mr. Taboada from the courtroom, please. I said you're going down in five. I just -- I did that at the time because I had read that serial killers like to be in control. So I wanted to have the last word. We have the last say. We will prevail. Our children's names will be remembered over him. Frankly I was glad that he stood up and was heard. It wasn't the end. Till the day he was put to death, then that's going to be the end for me. And in keeping with who Danny rolling was, even at his execution he did something no one saw coming. A Your mission:

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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