Death penalty phase for man convicted in brutal murder of popular bartender

LAKE COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - The death penalty phase begins today for the man convicted in the brutal murder of a popular bartender on Thanksgiving Day.

It took a jury just 10 hours to find Joseph Thomas guilty on all counts in the murder of Annie McSween. She was killed the morning of Thanksgiving in 2010.

49-year-old McSween was leaving her shift at Mario's Lakeway Lounge in Mentor-on-the-Lake when she was attacked behind the building. Cops say she ran to a nearby home to get help, and frantically knocked on the windows. Too scared to answer McSween's cries, the homeowner called 911 instead.

Meanwhile, the killer dragged McSween's badly beaten body away from the house, and she died.

Thomas was not arrested until June 2011, months after McSween's murder.

Copyright 2012 WOIO. All rights reserved.