|Updated: 1/18/2008 9:57 pm
||Published: 1/17/2008 10:10 am
A jury of three men and nine women in Ashley County sentenced Kenneth Ray Osburn to life in prison Friday night, after failing to unanimously decide on the death penalty. Osburn received dual life sentences for both a capital murder and kidnapping conviction.
"I have kind of this funny feeling that I haven't had and maybe that is closure," Melinda Crowder said Friday night.
Closure is what Melinda Crowder and her family where seeking this week in Hamburg. They may have found it with a guilty verdict against Kenneth Osburn, 48.
Sentencing Osburn proved to be tougher. The jury deliberated for nearly three hours before informing circuit judge Sam Pope they were unable to reach an unanimous sentencing for Osburn. When queried, the foreman informed the court that the jury was split 11-1 on sentencing. The judge did not ask which way they were leaning. After declaring there was no way to come to a unanimous sentence, the judge ruled Osburn would recieve life in prison.
Thomas Deen, prosecuting attorney for the 10th judicial circuit, said he knew a split jury was possible.
"It would have been preferred had the jury reached a verdict, but I understand," Deen says. "I'm pleased with the conviction. Jurors obviously took their responsiblity seriously and took a great deal of time in deliberating and sometimes it happens that way."
Osburn's family left the courtroom without commenting, but his defense team did speak to reporters for the first time since the trial began Monday.
"You have two families that clearly lost someone they loved and it makes it difficult all the way around," said attorney Patrick Benca.
Deen says the trial went as he expected and the evidence was good that led to the convictions.
"Justice was served," Deen said. "I felt he should receive the same fate that Casey Crowder met, but so be it."
The trial ended after five days. After 17 months of what the Crowder family called, "Justice for Casey," they believe they have found it now.
"There never will be complete closure, but maybe I do have a little sense of closure because I do have this feeling of relief."