We have carefully reviewed the sentences and are satisfied that the evidence supports the sentencing authority's findings of statutory aggravating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt.
As an additional check against the random imposition of the death penalty, this Court is directed to determine whether the sentence of death is excessive or disproportionate to the penalty imposed in similar cases, considering both the crime and the defendant.
We have compared the death sentences imposed upon appellants with the sentences imposed in all prior capital cases tried under the current death penalty statutes*fn4 and are satisfied that there are no similar cases against which the proportionality of the sentences imposed upon appellants can be measured.
The inability of this Court to compare this case with any other similar cases does not require, however, that appellants' sentences be set aside. Any system of review that requires a comparison of each case with all similar prior cases must have a beginning. There will be a first case for each type or category of capital case that may appear and that first case necessarily cannot be compared to any other similar cases. The first case must stand alone otherwise comparative sentence review would be forever impossible.
The current death penalty statutes comply with the guidelines set out by the United States Supreme Court in Gregg. We have considered and overruled each assignment of error by appellants and have completed the statutorily mandated sentence review. Additionally, we have searched the record in favorem vitae for any prejudicial error and have found none.
Accordingly, the sentences of death imposed upon appellants Joseph Carl Shaw and James Terry Roach are affirmed.
LEWIS, C.J., and LITTLEJOHN, NESS and RHODES, JJ., concur.