Published: Nov 14, 2011 5:29 PM EST
Updated: Nov 14, 2011 11:58 PM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla -- A Lee County man chooses life in prison over death row. 27-year-old Chad Moreland was caught on camera robbing and killing a store clerk in 2007.

"I told him doing life is a hell of a lot better than death row. Death row is the most horrible place in the world," says Moreland's attorney Neil McLoughlin.

Monday, Moreland admitted to killing 20-year-old Jerry Rabon. Jury selection for Moreland's murder trial was set to start on Tuesday. "It's rare that it occurs on the eve of trial," says Anthony Kunasek, Assistant State Attorney.

"His mother, who obviously loves her son very much was instrumental in getting Mr. Moreland to accept his plea," says McLoughlin.

Moreland was facing the death penalty in the 2007 shooting Rabon, a convenience store clerk and eagle scout.

Jerry's mother, Gail Peluso, was involved in this case every step of the way, seeking justice for her son's death.

"It was a four year case and I believe this resolution, Ms. Peluso certainly begins the process of moving forward. It was difficult for her," Kunasek said.

Moreland and his sister Iris are seen in surveilance video walking into the Hess Gas Station on Alico Road in August of 2007. Deputies say, cameras caught Moreland as he shot Rabon in the head.

"It would have been difficult to listen to the evidence. It would have been difficult to view any photographs. It's graphic testimony. It certainly wouldn't have been pleasant for Jerry's mom to see," Kunasek said.

In a statement to WINK News, Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott said, "In the culmination of a life of crime, this animal took the vibrant young life of our beloved Explorer Jerry Rabon.  He deserves a miserable existence for the remainder of his days on this earth."

Chad's sister Iris accepted a 40-year plea deal a few years ago. She was set to testify during her brothers trial. She is expected to be sentenced soon according to McLoughlin.


FORT MYERS, Fla.- Chad Moreland accepted a plea deal, Monday morning, of life without the possibility of parole.

Twenty seven year-old Chad Moreland could have faced the death penalty, had he been convicted in the murder of convenience store clerk Jerry Rabon. The Eagle Scout and Sherriff's Explorer in Training was working at the Hess gas station on Alico Road in August 2007 when he was shot to death.

A surveillance camera captured video from the night of the crime. Deputies say Moreland and his sister Iris robbed the station, and Chad pulled the trigger.

Moreland's lawyers were working to prove that he is mentally retarded, which would take the death penalty off the table, but today, he accepted the plea deal.